Starting a Sports Betting Business
Sports betting in the US is big business.
Really big business.
So big that by 2025, experts project the market to enjoy a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.41%.
Besides the big-name sportsbooks with an established presence in the market, many more are also coming from further afield. Betting websites already big in Europe are trying their luck across the pond, and various local operators are also looking to impact their communities.
Does that sound exciting to you? Do you want to become a part of this story? Good news—you can.
But before you get started with your online sports betting business, you need to do a bit of research. Some companies have been in the space for decades, and trying to compete with little or no knowledge will not work in your favor.
Before you do anything else, the first place to start is knowing what you should consider when starting a sports betting business. In this article, you’ll learn which states you can expand into, how to get a sports betting license and how to create a successful betting app.
You will also discover how to do market research, plus more.
Find Out Where You Can Offer Your Sports Betting Services
The repeal of the PASPA in 2018 gave every state an equal opportunity to legalize sports betting if they wanted to. However, the vertical is not yet regulated nationwide.
Many states have chosen to permit sports betting both on and offline. Others have only regulated the vertical with significant restrictions, and some have chosen not to legalize it at all.
Below is a list of jurisdictions where online sports betting is legal for commercial operators.
- New Jersey
- Rhode Island
- New Hampshire
- West Virginia
Sports betting is also legal in Washington DC, but only the lottery operator can offer their services here.
Three states have passed legislation to regulate commercial operators’ sports betting and are currently putting together their frameworks. These are:
- South Dakota
Many other states also legalize sports betting, but only for tribal casino operators. Therefore, you would struggle to obtain a license.
Understand Local State Regulations
In states that offer legal sports betting, regulations differ greatly. Some are more liberal towards advertising and operator numbers, whereas others are stricter.
Some states will only allow players aged 21 and above to bet. But for others, the minimum age is 18.
Some states have limits on the number of betting sites they will allow. For example: in Virginia, only 12 online betting sites will receive a sports betting license. Even if the local governing body rejects your application, you will often need to pay a non-refundable fee just to apply.
Advertising is especially important to consider when expanding into new states. When developing your marketing strategy, you must think about the messaging and what isn’t allowed.
Responsible gambling is becoming more of an important talking point across the US. As the vertical grows in popularity, this will only increase.
Even if promoting such messages is not yet mandatory, it probably will be in the near future. Therefore, you should get in the habit of safe gambling advertising now.
It’s also important to look at which legal sports betting markets you can offer. Some states, as an example, allow players to bet on college sports. Others do not. Make sure you’re well-informed on this.
Pick the Right Software for Your Platform
Compared to Europe, the US sports betting industry is still in its early stages. Therefore, the standards of software available to bookmakers aren’t as high of a bar yet.
Couple this with the lack of knowledge many in the industry have on the right software. Then, carrying out prior research becomes even more necessary.
Using the right gaming supplier software is especially critical. But before committing to any, you need to look beyond just the services offered. It’s also important that any company you partner with has a supplier license in your state.
You will also need to look for a technology provider that offers comprehensive payment solutions. Players are demanding more choice in how they deposit and withdraw. Offering only the traditional credit cards will not be enough in the long run.
When looking for technology, you also need to consider your business model. For example, a pay-per-head solution could help you to maximize your earning potential. Think beyond the immediate, and consider how you will continue to grow your profits as you scale.
Apply for a Local Sports Betting License
Before you start offering your services in any market, you must receive a sports betting license. Depending on the state, you might need to apply for two separate permits if you also plan on offering your wagering services offline.
In almost every case, you will need to pay an application fee. The price depends on the state you’re expanding into, plus the type of license you’re applying for.
The local gaming control board usually processes state license applications. There is no federal governing body that decides on licensing for individual states.
To improve your chances of having a sports betting license accepted, you should put together a full business plan before applying. You will also need to prove that your business is genuine, legal, and ethical.
When your license is accepted, you can offer your services in that state until the permit expires. You will get the opportunity to renew as long as you comply with local regulations.
In some states, you will also need to pay an annual renewal fee. Check with the local regulator before applying.
Do Your Research Before Expanding Into Every State
Every state is culturally different, and their attitudes to sports betting also vary. What works for you in Nevada will not necessarily hold in Illinois.
Players in each state will have differing opinions on the best sports betting sites. They will want to see different offerings, depending on where you are.
Often, sports betting brands are successful in the US because they localize their offerings. For example, players in Colorado care more about the local sports teams rather than the big national ones.
Your services should reflect this. If you were to launch in Colorado, focusing on the Denver Broncos and Nuggets is wiser than promoting the New York Yankees or LA Lakers.
Look for Market Gaps
So, you’ve got your sports betting permit. Congratulations! Now you can go and do what everyone else is doing and hope that it works out well for you too.
Well, not quite.
Before launching in a state, you need to realize that much of the market is already filled. Players have their preferred sportsbooks, and if you can’t offer anything different, you’re not getting any business.
But no matter how saturated a market is, there are always extra opportunity gaps. When you’re ready to start preparing for your launch, analyze each market thoroughly.
Understanding what works is essential. But knowing what doesn’t is even more essential. Look at where existing operators could improve, and create your solutions for these. You will then give players a reason to bet with you instead of a competitor.
Create a Mobile App
When you’ve done your background research, it’s time to start creating your sports betting mobile app. You should not do this on your own if you don’t have a team of developers. It will just lead to stress and wasted time.
While developing your mobile app, whoever designs it should consider:
- The content that will feature on the app
- The look and feel, which should reflect your brand’s aesthetic
- How the app’s content will differ depending on the states you launch in
- The gaming software supplier
Many sports betting apps in the US function as more than just a place to bet. They also offer players immense amounts of free value.
You should consider sharing videos and publishing betting previews to help players make their weekend choices. When you offer these extra services, they are more likely to keep engaging with you each week. And the longer they spend on your app, the more probable they are to bet.
Now You Know How to Start a Sports Betting Business in the US in 2021
Sports betting in the US is going to grow significantly over the next decade. Various factors will drive the vertical’s rise in popularity, including high-quality gaming suppliers, more players choosing to bet online, and states opening up further.
Understandably, now is also an exciting time to launch a sports betting business in the US. While the space is competitive, there is still plenty of room for innovators like yourself.
Do your research before launching, understand local state regulations, and apply for a license. Combine these with educating players and providing free value, and you have a recipe for long-term success.
Now you know how to start your sports betting adventure in the US, why not consider maximizing your earnings with pay-per-head? Sign up and find out how it works.
9 Most Surprising Facts About the Sports Betting Industry
Want the latest trends and news on the sports betting industry, or curious about its storied history?
Here’s the most surprising facts about the industry:
Legendary Las Vegas bookmaker, Jimmy Vaccaro, believes sports gambling prognostications are way off. He says that revenue will be triple what experts currently predict. He knows how to handicap over/under bets.
Sports gambling has a hold on America. It always has, but there was never any official data. Now that sports betting is legitimate, people see how popular it has always been.
The sports betting industry is rapidly becoming a financial behemoth. Are you new to the game? Read on to learn some surprising facts about the industry’s history and the latest trends.
1. The Market is Exploding
2020’s Big Game saw 26 million Americans bet over $6.8 billion. That’s an incredible amount for one game.
As of May 2020, United States citizens wagered over $20 billion on sports. The handle took a hit during 2020 thanks to COVID-19. The second most bet on sports event, the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, was canceled.
With the return of all major leagues, sports betting industry revenue will rebound. Sports gambling revenues during the first seven months of 2020 exceeded the first seven of 2019 by 19%.
2. It’s an Ancient Hobby
The origins of sports gambling trace back to ancient Rome. Romans placed bets on chariot races and gladiator brawls.
Modern sports betting first occurred in the 18th century. The most bet on sport in those days was horse racing, but modern sports soon followed.
Abner Doubleday’s 1839 invention of baseball took gambling to the next level. Sports betting illegality made it a perfect match for the rising criminal underworld.
One of the major plot points of an American classic novel, The Great Gatsby, involves the 1919 Black Sox scandal. This is the game-fixing scheme that saw “Shoeless” Joe Jackson permanently banned from baseball.
By the 1940s, Las Vegas was the only place in America permitted to take sports bets. The industry spread across the entire country in pool halls and newsstand back rooms.
3. Football Rules
Baseball might be America’s pastime, but football is our favorite sport. It’s our favorite sport to watch, discuss, and bet. Sportsbooks love it, too.
New Jersey’s handle averages $1 billion per month during football season. Sports betting industry analysis reveals football betting popularity across the country.
Why is so much money bet on football? For one, more people watch football than any other sport. Because of that, it receives an extraordinary amount of year-round television coverage.
Football is convenient and easy to follow. Teams play one game per week, with the majority of the games occurring on one day. The weekly games make news and information easy to digest.
That’s why players love it. Sportsbooks love football for the same reasons. Any bookmaker will tell you they make the most money during football season because the lines are extra tight.
4. Bookies Are Everywhere
You might even be one and not realize it. If you organize office block pools, fantasy leagues, or horse race lotteries, you’re a bookie.
Legalized gambling in America also means bookies no longer have to operate in the shadows. Do you think you have what it takes to turn your hobby into a career?
You’ve never had better options. Pay-per-head software like AcePerHead.com offers easy online solutions for new and experienced bookies.
Sign up and start taking bets within a matter of minutes.
5. The Books Win Every September
September is the best month of the year for sportsbooks. Why? It’s the start of the college and NFL football season.
Sports betting industry reports show Nevada sportsbooks make more money in September than October and November combined. Why does this happen?
Gamblers can hardly wait for football season. The summer months are the slowest gambling months of the year. Baseball odds are more favorable, but most hobby gamblers prefer football.
The pent-up excitement causes gamblers to part with their money on questionable bets.
The National Football League’s CBA includes a salary cap. This salary cap allows smaller market teams to compete with the larger markets.
There’s a uniform amount of money teams pay players. Because of this, the talent spreads throughout the league. This parity means there is a smaller gap between the talented teams and the bad teams.
This close competition makes the first month of the season a challenge for players. Trends have yet to develop. The dominant teams are not yet dominant.
NCAA’s talent discrepancy is huge. The top Power 5 teams recruit the best athletes and dominate the smaller schools.
September college football features some intriguing non-conference matchups. Most powerhouse schools like to stack their win total before entering conference play.
These early-season matchups come with huge point spreads. It’s not uncommon to see point spreads of 30+ points.
Bettors play these big spreads and often lose. If Alabama plays Youngstown State and leads by 28 after the first half, they’ll likely play their second string.
This in-game coaching strategy leads to back-door covers. Back-door covers mean losses for novice gamblers who play the dominant favorites.
6. Point Spreads Didn’t Exist Until the 1940s
It took even longer to catch on. The inventor of the point spread, Charles K. McNeil, loved gambling. He ran his bookmaking operation out of Chicago while he worked as a securities analyst.
Odds were expressed as fractions in the early part of the 20th century and all gambling was a pick to win. You’d receive 2 to 1 or 3.5 to 1 odds on a particular team to win.
This worked great for players, but it didn’t work well for bookies. There wasn’t enough play on underdog sides to balance the book and turn a profit.
That’s how McNeil invented the spread. The spread allows gamblers to bet on both sides of the line. It keeps players interested in lopsided games and helps bookies make money.
What would sports betting industry news look like without the point spread? It’s hard to imagine.
7. Live Betting is Huge
Sports betting industry trends show that live betting continues to grow in popularity. These are bets players make during a game on any number of markets.
The internet and the invention of the smartphone make live betting easier than ever. Players can make bets on their phones during gameplay.
Players also always want an edge. Sharp players discovered they had a possible advantage by making live bets. A trained eye can still beat statistical probability when it comes to live odds.
The books always correct their weaknesses. Many commercial sportsbook apps now have a built-in delay for all live bets. This delay allows the book to adjust its numbers before accepting a live bet.
Though the books neutralize player advantages, live betting shows no sign of slowing. Americans love sports betting too much. As long as it’s convenient, players will lay action.
8. The Biggest Upset in History Occurred in 1990
Heavyweight Champion Mike Tyson fought Buster Douglas on February 11, 1990. Bookmakers considered the Tokyo Dome fight so lopsided they didn’t release a line.
Mike Tyson’s intimidating power punching style tore through the heavyweight ranks. He looked unbeatable in the second half of the 1980s, making short work of every fighter he faced.
Buster Douglas was a journeyman fighter ranked #7. The fight was a tune-up bout before a showdown with the #1 contender, Evander Holyfield.
Only one sportsbook in Las Vegas took bets on the fight and they opened on Douglas 27-1. Surprisingly, many people were willing to lay huge chalk on the heavily favored Tyson. The line closed at Douglas 42-1.
Buster Douglas shocked the world and knocked Tyson out. Experts believe we’ll never see another upset like it. In the sports betting world, however, it’s not wise to say “never.”
9. Professional Sports Leagues Now Embrace the Sports Betting Industry
Sports betting is so popular the professional sports leagues want in on the action. This marriage seemed less likely than Douglas’ KO of Tyson. Sports leagues avoided gambling associations for years.
Each major pro sports league now has an official gambling sponsor. Some sports teams built gambling parlors in their buildings where fans can lay action during games.
Sports Betting’s Popularity Will Only Grow
The sports betting industry will continue to grow unabated. More states will legalize, causing revenues to increase. The United States always loved sports gambling, and now that it’s so accessible, more people will play.
You can win money betting, but the real way to make money is by taking bets. It’s never been easier. There are software solutions that make bookmaking so easy.