Sports Betting: Media’s Growing Interest in Legalized Gambling

Todd Longwell
·2 min read

While the global pandemic has been a frequent disruption to pro sports since nationwide lockdowns brought many industries to a standstill in the spring of 2020, statewide legalization of sports betting in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s approving decision in May 2018 has continued, according to Sportico sister publication Variety.

As of February 2021, legal sports betting is up and running in 20 states and the District of Columbia, with Virginia becoming the 20th state to unveil its operations last month. Another five states have legalized sports betting and are working to make it operational in the near future.

What’s next for the frontier of legalized gambling in the U.S. is the focus of Sports Betting, the third in-depth examination of the sector from Variety Intelligence Platform (VIP) following a launch report on the subject as well as the Variety Thought Leader report, the latter of which was Variety’s first exploration of the new betting market coming together.

The 20-page report highlights the companies from the media and betting sectors joining up to take advantage of the new opportunities afforded by the legalization of sports betting.

Now that the stability of sports broadcasting as a market driver for media companies has been compromised by COVID-19, resulting in a pronounced shift from MVPD subscriptions to streaming, media companies that once relied on steady revenues from sports rights deals struck with their owned networks are turning to sportsbooks to offset losses.

The forecasts for where the market cap of sports betting will rise continue to change frequently in scope. While more modest estimates expect the market to reach close to $8 billion by 2025, analysts continue to rapidly revise their expectations, with one Morgan Stanley watcher projecting sports betting and internet gambling could reach a combined $15 billion by that time.

As coronavirus remains volatile and the reality of consumers reassembling the cable cords they’ve cut remains unlikely, the investments in and attention given to sports betting only stand to expand. If you’re in a state that has yet to hop on the bandwagon, you can bet that won’t be the case for much longer.

Read the full special report from VIP here.

More from Sportico.com