State of the Union: US Sports Betting Update – New Era of Legal Sports Wagering Begins in Wyoming
A brave new era of legal sports betting began when BetMGM and DraftKings went live in Wyoming this week. Gov. Mark Gordon signed a legalization bill into law back in April after it eased through both chambers the previous month. The licensing process opened up in July and the Wyoming Gaming Commission received letters of intent from BetMGM, DraftKings, FanDuel and Barstool Sportsbook. BetMGM and DraftKings gained their licenses this week and both sportsbooks launched on Wednesday. It marks the 14th state in which BetMGM has rolled out its mobile app and online sportsbook. “We’re ecstatic that BetMGM is one of the first mobile sports betting platforms to launch in Wyoming, just in time for the start of the football season,” said chief executive Adam Greenblatt. “Wyoming is an important state for us as we continue to expand BetMGM’s footprint in the West. We’re confident that its sports fans will enjoy the BetMGM experience.” DraftKings is now available in 13 states after expanding into Wyoming. “Legalized sports betting has seen wide-spread growth in just three years and the DraftKings Sportsbook has been at the center of the action,” said Matt Kalish, co-founder and President, DraftKings North America. “We are thrilled that Wyoming sports bettors have the opportunity to experience the highly accessible and immersive fan experience along with best in class consumer protections that our product offers millions of skin-in-the-game sports fans.”
DraftKings Launches Enticing Bonuses in Wyoming
DraftKings took the first legal sports wager in the state on Wednesday afternoon. A football fan placed a $1.10 wager on Jacksonville State, a 16.5-point underdog, to cover the spread against UAB in the FCS Kickoff college football game. It is the third state this year to receive the DraftKings online sportsbook, following launches in Virginia and Michigan at the start of 2021. It is also DraftKings’ second state in the west, after Colorado. The company marked the occasion by offering new Wyoming customers two “Double Your Money” promotions – the first on the Colorado Rockies getting a hit and the second on the University of Wyoming Cowboys scoring a point in its home opener on September 4. Wyoming residents aged 18 or older can now bet on sports legally from anywhere in the state. Most states have a minimum age requirement of 21, but Wyoming decided to set a lower bar. We can expect to see FanDuel and Barstool gain licenses soon. Operators must pay a $100,000 fee for a five-year license fee, with a $50,000 renewal fee thereafter. They also have to pay a 10% tax on gaming revenues, with $300,000 each year channelled towards gambling addiction treatment. Official data, technology and commercial firm Genius Sports has also been awarded a long-term online sports wagering vendor permit in Wyoming. It marks the 15th state in which Genius Sports is permitted to operate. “We are honored that the Wyoming Gaming Commission has joined the growing number of U.S. gaming authorities that have granted Genius a betting supplier license,” said chief executive Mark Locke. “Our team looks forward to working with our industry-leading sportsbook partners to deliver compelling, high integrity sports betting experiences throughout the great state of Wyoming. The momentum behind U.S. sports betting continues to increase and we are excited to help the American market to fulfill its massive potential as we pursue licensing in additional states.”
Competition Heats Up in Arizona
Wyoming is the least populous state in the country, with the second lowest GDP and no professional sports teams, so it is likely to produce modest revenue figures. Most operators are focusing their attention on the impending launch of legal sports betting in Arizona, the country’s 14th largest state, which is strategically located next to California. There are 20 licenses up for grabs, with operators required to team up with tribes or pro sports teams, and most have already been issued to major players like FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM and Caesars. The latest operator to announce its expansion into Arizona is Fubo Gaming, a Chicago-based subsidiary of sports streaming platform fuboTV. The brand secured two licenses this week – one to launch in Iowa through a market access agreement with Casino Queen, and another to offer mobile event wagering within the state of Arizona through a market access agreement with the Ak-Chin Indian Community.
Fubo Sportsbook Aims to Turn Passive Viewers into Bettors
Fubo Sportsbook has not yet launched, but it is set to go live in Iowa and Arizona this fall. It is described as a “holistic, hyper-personalized betting experience reflecting what users are watching on fuboTV”. The team plans to combine data from both the streaming and wagering platforms to recommend relevant bets to users and eventually “turn passive viewers into active, engaged participants”. It believes it can stand out by providing an “omni-screen ecosystem in which wagering information automatically syncs with users’ interests and real-time viewing”. Scott Butera, president of Fubo Gaming, said: “With the forthcoming launch of Fubo Sportsbook, we look forward to providing a seamless user experience that allows fans to wager while they watch their favorite sports. We believe Fubo Sportsbook will add another exciting layer to the sports entertainment experience – one that will bring increased interaction and engagement between sports viewing and betting. “The license award in Arizona is an important strategic step as we aim to bring our integrated Fubo Sportsbook to the passionate sports fans of Arizona. I’d like to thank our partners at the Ak-Chin Indian Community, who are leaders in the Arizona gaming community, for helping us achieve this milestone today.” Fubo Gaming also has obtained market access agreements in New Jersey and Indiana via Caesars Entertainment and Pennsylvania via The Cordish Companies. “We believe Fubo Sportsbook will provide an elevated sports entertainment experience that will bring increased interaction and engagement between sports viewing and betting,” added Butera. “We are working with regulators in additional markets as we aim to truly innovate the gaming space.”