Sports Betting and Fan Engagement

Derek Mehraban

This week the Supreme Court issued a landmark decision that seems to pave the way to legalized sports betting throughout the United States. The Court ruled that the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act that prohibited states form authorizing sports gambling was unconstitutional. While the decision does not automatically legalize sports gambling, it does allow those states that wish to sanction sports gambling to pass their own laws legalizing it.

This was welcome news for fans who gamble on sports through offshore websites, local bookies, or large daily fantasy sports operators such as DraftKings who likely already have the technology in place to facilitate sports gambling. On the other hand, NCAA and professional sports leagues and attempting to comprehend what this will mean for them, though they are likely to benefit from additional revenue streams through the legalized sports betting opportunity.

A connected segment that has not garnered as much attention is the opportunity legal sports gambling creates for leagues and teams in fan engagement. It is no secret that fantasy sports has been a welcome addition toward elevating interest in all sports, especially football. While gambling on sports has existed under wraps, legalizing betting will boost fan participation not just for their favorite teams, but for those peripheral teams where fan interest was often limited to the final score of the game.

Gambling on sports may perhaps be best left to casinos and online sportsbooks that are sure to jump into the fray for a piece of the pie. With the elimination of barriers to sports gambling, fan engagement platforms like Fantelope are well positioned to attract more fans and facilitate higher engagement, both in terms of average time and revenue spent per fan. There is room for those fans too that may enjoy the excitement of participating in and the thrill of winning a bet, but may not wager money on the outcome of a game.

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