For years it's been outlawed almost nationwide, starting 2018 sports betting is entering stadia quite literally. No physical bookmaking kiosks yet, but it's a whole new sector opening for everyone. Whether we like it or not.
If you're a Premier League follower, you can visit a bookmaker-sponsored stadium, watch players with his logo on their jerseys, get a bet365 bonus code and place up to 500 different bets on a single game, including during play and inside the stadium. In essence, EU legislation doesn't ban gambling on sports and in sports, while the British are leading the way, not necessarily in all the good ways you'd imagine.
Between April 2015 and March 2018 the Brits went from 23 million active remote betting accounts to 33 million and very few people who once started betting have deactivated their accounts in the same period.
As we all know gambling can be addictive and even if it concerns football rather than arcades or bingo, the rule is simple: the casino wins. Maybe not always but predominantly. Gambling operators in the UK have cashed in over £1 billion from online football bets alone in the mentioned period, distancing all other sports disciplines, including horse racing. So it really seems obvious why they put their names on team jerseys and stadiums, as well as allowing betting during games themselves. Social responsibility aside, wouldn't you?
Now, in the US it's largely been a different story. Surely you won't be surprised that casino giant Ceasars has teamed up with Las Vegas Raiders as founding partner of their new $1.8-billion stadium. It's Las Vegas, after all, rules on gambling have always been more loose there.
But across NBA, NHL and NFL most teams were clear of any involvement with betting companies. Some have claimed moral high ground but the truth is they were simply banned from endorsing any form of sports betting by law. That law, known as PASPA (Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act) dates back to 1992 and practically outlawed gambling from sports venues.
Except that earlier this year PASPA was knocked down by the Supreme Court and opened the door widely for betting companies to enter the biggest sports leagues. One of the first partnerships was signed by NFL's Jets and saw MetLife Stadium decorated in 888 branding and ahead of season opener we saw opinion-leading Forbes question whether stadium Wi-Fi systems will be able to cope with this new frontier.
So far it hasn't exploded, or at least not yet. But according to a study by Nielsen, the NFL alone might cash in $2.33 billion, of which only $573 million would be paid through sponsorships and other direct partnership forms. Vast majority of the resources, stunning $1.75 billion, would come from fan engagement!