The rise of online sports betting in the USA

By Sarad Bade Shrestha  |  December 2, 2019
The rise of online sports betting in the USA

Sports betting has been around for decades and the advancements of technology have served as catalysts for its recent growth. Internet gambling has propelled this activity to new highs and the US public is still very much enthralled with sports betting, in spite of the legal obstacles. The UIGEA set the gambling market back and even though it is slowly recovering, sports betting is far from being legal nationwide.

An indissoluble link between legality and popularity

The vast majority of US punters are recreational gamblers who bet on sports as a pleasant pastime. In their quest for the adrenaline rush and the occasional winnings, most people are not willing to break any laws. That’s why after many years of steady rise, the sports betting market shrunk in the wake of the prohibitive laws of 2006. The path to recovery was slow and tedious, but each positive signal sent by the state legislators or the judicial system sped up the process.

The Supreme Court ruling of 2018 is an important milestone for the gambling industry, as it gave the power back to state governments. In the wake of this ruling, the number of people that expressed interest for sports betting increased, which led to renewed interest for legalizing the activity. Many states were quick to jump on the bandwagon right away, knowing that legalized sports betting would bring money to state coffers. The system already works smoothly in many European countries where gambling was legalized and where sports betting is being done in complete accord with the law.

West Virginia, Rhode Island, Iowa and Indiana are the states where players were recently given the possibility of betting over the Internet. This cluster of states joints Nevada, Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, who were the pioneers in legalizing online gambling in all its forms. At the opposite end of the spectrum, we have Alaska, Hawaii, Wyoming, Washington, Nebraska, South Carolina, Vermont, Idaho and Georgia who show no interest in walking down this path. And then, of course there is Utah, a place where the simple uttering of having a flutter on the top online sports betting sites is frowned upon.

Technology is the greatest catalyst for growth

Legal obstacles have prevented the US sports betting industry from reaching its full potential, in spite of growing interest from punters. Meanwhile, the latest technologies, the arrival of smartphones and tablets and the widespread access to the Internet have boosted the popularity of online gambling sites. Betting on sports has never been easier and today anyone can pick up a handheld device to bet on the favorites team.

Online bookmakers provide players with a far more convenient environment for betting, not to mention the better odds and generous promotions. Exclusive offers and other perks provide players with the incentive to stay active and try different sports all the time. In the great scheme of things, the prohibitive laws are only temporary obstacles that will eventually be lifted. The burning desire for excitement and the inexorable progress of technology will keep pushing online sports betting forward.

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