With multiple states close to legalizing sports betting this year, there is no surprise that many related parties have been warming up to the idea. While major American sports leagues like the NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB were once opposed to wagers being placed on game outcomes, they now support the activity for several different reasons.
Sports betting has undoubtedly been around for several years even though it has only recently stopped being federally illegal. Illegal sports betting is common all across the country, which creates a difficult situation for lawmakers that now have the power to legalize the act.
Not only is sports betting already happening illegally, but several states are also starting to legalize. This puts pressure on neighboring states to do the same so they don’t miss out on essentially free tax revenue. Since sports betting is already occurring illegally, this allows for governments to tap into an existing and reliable stream of revenue.
The reason why sports leagues are warming up to the prospect is because it is now becoming socially acceptable and they also stand to profit. Gambling tends to carry a negative association with it, so when this is combined with sports, it is understandable that there are concerns about sports betting impacting the image of sports leagues.
Because sports betting is no longer federally illegal and states are starting to legalize, this opens the door for sports leagues to accept gambling as part of the game. Another key motivation for them is that they’ll often work out arrangements with sportsbooks so that they earn a small portion of revenue for the league for every wager placed.
Sports leagues are getting in on it, but now Fox Sports is doing the same. This week they’ve announced their intentions to purchase 5% of a sportsbook group, The Stars Group. The Stars Group is the parent company of notable Poker company, PokerStars.
This is no minor endeavor, as it will cost Fox Sports $236 million and allows the option for additional ownership after 10 years. Fox Sports has done this fully with the intention of stepping into the realm of sports betting. Working together with The Stars Group, the two companies will operate as Fox Bet to offer sports betting in any state that has legal opportunities.
Not only do sports leagues see the potential of sports betting, but now major entertainment networks are noticing the same. Sports betting is a huge industry, and with more states leaning towards legalization, it only stands to grow in the next few years.