In June 2018, there was an almighty change in the sports betting landscape of the United States. The ban on sports betting was lifted and each state now had the right to legalise sports betting.
Delaware was one of the first states, along with New Jersey, to legalise online sports wagering and this was big news for established betting brands in the United Kingdom.
Some of the other states to move quickly and legalise online gambling include Pennsylvania and West Virginia and betting in states like Colorado has really taken off. With that in mind, it makes pure business sense for established online sports betting companies to offer their services to the US market.
In terms of competition, online sports wagering in the US is fresh. Prior to 2018, there were no legal online betting brands dominating the sports betting scene in the United States and everyone was basically starting from scratch. The likes of FanDuel and DraftKings had an advantage due to the fact they were already offering real money fantasy sports games across the country and could promote their new sportsbooks to account holders. Famous casino brands also used their power to bring online sports betting to the public, with BetMGM, Caesars, and Wynn being good examples of casino resorts ready to step into the sports betting world.
However, there is no substitute for experience and that is where the British sports betting firms have the advantage. Some, such as William Hill, have been in business for close to a century while others, like Bet365 and Unibet, have long held a significant position in terms of online sports wagering in the UK. They are extremely successful and know what it takes to run a profitable online sportsbook that sports betting fans want to use. With the competition only getting tougher throughout the UK and Europe, entering a new market in the US, with a massive population of sports loving fans makes perfect sense.
The continued introduction of tougher rules from UK regulators is another reason why UK betting operators are scrambling to get into the US. The United Kingdom Gambling Commission continues to set strict guidelines and more of the advertising campaigns by sports betting brands on UK television are focused on safe gambling, more than anything else. That is a distinct change from just a few years ago when online sportsbooks pushed their odds and promotions, with little to no thought of gambling issues.
Sponsorship of soccer clubs could also be about to change in the UK. At the time of writing, sports gambling companies sponsor many of the big British soccer clubs, including the front of the jerseys worn by players in games. However, there has been a lot of pressure to change the way betting brands can sponsor teams and this may see the removal of sports betting companies from the front of soccer jerseys and even off advertising boards around the pitch.
With that in mind and the potential for greater sponsorship deals in the United States, UK betting operators are keen to establish a foothold in the US.