Tom King of Readyfire Inc. is one of several gaming entrepreneurs who believes legal U.S. sports betting will be a boon for his business. Readyfire is a smartphone trivia app which millions of people play twice per day.

Readyfire’s twice-daily trivia contests have real money prizes. Players bet on themselves to win the games or, better put, pay an entry fee to enter and collect real money prizes for winning the game or achieving high scores.

The trivia game is considered a skill-game and not a game of chance. In many states, games of skill are still banned, even if they are not technically seen as gambling. Tom King believes the liberalization of sports gaming laws in 10 to 20 US states would help Readyfire become more mainstream.

Who Wins from Legal US Sports Betting?

In the early stages, the likely winners in an expanded sports betting environment will be established sportsbooks and gaming companies. Atlantic City casinos and Monmouth Park Racetrack in Oceanport, New Jersey will be well-positioned to take advantage of the new situation.

Tom King believes his company and those like his eventually will be beneficiaries of the new circumstances. He believes a wide swath of Americans eventually will prefer to use a gaming apps like his instead of going to Twitter or Facebook to post their thoughts.

The business model might not be as easy as it sounds. Game designers are like Readyfire Inc. want to create a prop betting game as easy as Candy Crush. If such games were easy to design, then games as popular as Candy Crush would appear on the market more than a couple of times a decade.

Chris Grove: US Sports Betting Market Analysis

Chris Grove of Eilers & Krejcik Gaming points out another obstacle — the lack of a 50-state regulatory framework. Grove said, “We won’t have a 50-state sports betting market in our lifetime.”

A 50-state solution is exactly what the National Football League (NFL), Major League Baseball (MLB), and National Basketball Association (NBA) want to impose. While the sports leagues failed to enforce the PASPA federal sports betting ban, they now want to extract tribute from sports betting operations in the form of an “integrity fee”. A Major League Baseball spokesman said the other day, if bookmakers do not want to play along, MLB will pursue federal sports betting regulations in the US Congress.

William Hill and Monmouth Park

That is for the future. For the time being, the established gaming companies are moving ahead with state-level sports betting regulations. William Hill CEO Joe Asher described the thought process of his bookmaker company, along with many other sports betting operations: “We always, of course, had an eye outside of the state [Nevada]. We made a bet back in 2013 on Monmouth Park in New Jersey. And obviously, it turned out to be a pretty good bet.”

Dennis Drazin, whose Monmouth Park (Darby Development) is a business partner with William Hill, said that New Jersey sports betting is only a fortnight away from readiness. Drazin said of the final tweaks to New Jersey sports betting’s framework, “It takes a couple weeks to finish off the technology. We weren’t sure which way the Supreme Court would rule. We were very confident of victory. But there were two paths. And we wanted to make sure we got it right.”

US States with Sports Betting Bills

Seven US states currently have sports betting bills in committee or ready for a floor vote at present: New York, Connecticut, Delaware, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Mississippi, and Iowa. Another thirteen US states have plans to discuss sports betting regulations in their states: California, Massachusetts, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Kansas, Oklahoma, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Rhode Island, Kentucky, and South Carolina.

According to the American Gaming Association, Americans wager roughly $150 billion a year in illegal sports bets. These wagers either go through local bookmakers named bookies or they go through illegal offshore online sportsbooks. Often, bookies launder money by making offshore bets at those same bookmaker sites.

How Legal Sports Betting Affects Bookies

Lawmakers and casino executives believe much of that cash will go to legal sportsbooks, if Americans are given the choice between the two. Dennis Drazin claimed New Jersey would handle $10 billion a year in sports wagers.

One thing everyone agrees on is the US Supreme Court decision is good for business. Mark Cuban, the billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks, said on CNBC of the ruling, “I think everyone who owns a top four professional sports team just basically saw the value of their team double.”

Some bookies told the New York Times those figures were overblown. They say their businesses will be unaffected for the most part. The anonymous bookies said that many gamblers will want (1) to bet on credit and (2) try to avoid taxes on sports bets. Since legal sportsbooks will not allow bettors to wager on credit, many will continue to go to bookies. Since legal sportsbooks collect state taxes and report big winnings to the feds, many sports gamblers will stay in the underground sports betting industry.

Perhaps that is bravado from unaccountable local bookmakers. Or perhaps the executives and officials who push legal sports betting are exaggerating a bit. Perhaps the truth is somewhere in the middle. Whatever the case, sports betting startups like Readyfire Inc. want their part of the action. Tom King and a wave of gaming entrepreneurs like him will try to turn a buck on the next generation of proposition bets.

About the Author
April Bergman avatar
April Bergman

April Bergman was a longtime news blogger for BOC. She wrote gaming news posts from January 2013 until September 2018. April also wrote slot reviews, strategy articles, and online casino reviews for the site.

April Bergman began in the online gaming industry in August 2010. From 2010 to 2013, she managed evergreen content for several top online casino. Her duties included developing and maintaining multiple websites in the gaming space. When not writing about online gambling, April loves horse racing, travel, photography, and gardening. She's began in the business as a devoted poker players and spent several years as a card game editor on the now-defunct DMOZ. These days, she lives with her husband and two children in the Toronto metropolitan area.

READ MORE

April Bergman was a longtime news blogger for BOC. She wrote gaming news posts from January 2013 until September 2018. April also wrote slot reviews, strategy articles, and online casino reviews for the site.

April Bergman began in the online gaming industry in August 2010. From 2010 to 2013, she managed evergreen content for several top online casino. Her duties included developing and maintaining multiple websites in the gaming space. When not writing about online gambling, April loves horse racing, travel, photography, and gardening. She's began in the business as a devoted poker players and spent several years as a card game editor on the now-defunct DMOZ. These days, she lives with her husband and two children in the Toronto metropolitan area.

READ MORE
Comments

Add comment