US Lotteries Eyeing Sports Betting Services

US Lotteries Eyeing Sports Betting Services

Americans place an estimated $150 billion in sports bets each year, with an astounding 97% of these wagers made through illegal offshore sites. It’s therefore little wonder numerous states across the country are currently lining up to pass appropriate legislation and launch sports betting products of their own, with their efforts supported by tribal and commercial casinos in their respective states.

In the meantime, the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries (NASPL) has been monitoring the situation closely since the U.S. Supreme Court gave individual states the right to legalize sports betting within their borders, and has now expressed its own interest in incorporating sports betting into its portfolio of products.

Commenting upon the development, the NASPL said that it was ready to help set up a live sports betting network, if asked to do so, via its “strong relationship” with retail outlets, bars, and clubs throughout the country. Furthermore, the organization said that it also had technology in place to help establish an online network, stating:

“In addition, some American lotteries already sell their products on the internet, a potential avenue for sports betting if a state allows that option.”

State Lotteries Support Sports Betting

Being such an influential organization within the gambling industry, the NASPL has long been an ardent supporter of state governments being granted the right to decide their own gambling laws, and in 2011 it adopted a resolution stating so in reaction to the federal internet gaming ban imposed by the government that same year.

“We believe that the use, regulation, and ultimate beneficiaries of the internet for gaming are best left to the legislative determination of each state,” explained the NASPL.

In 2016, the NASPL subsequently met with the American Gaming Association (AGA) in order to more closely study the legalized sports betting campaign launched by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. In attendance was Charlie McIntyre, the New Hampshire Lottery executive director and co-chair of the NASPL Government Relations Committee, who explained that the NASPL was interested in participating in sports wagering, and adding the product to its existing portfolios.

The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) originally limited sports betting to Nevada, Oregon, Delaware, and Montana, and as McIntyre pointed out at the meeting, Delaware and Montana lotteries had already successfully been offering sports betting across a range of products for many years, including NFL games and fantasy football and racing competitions. Last year, the NASPL subsequently held a conference in Oregon in which it explored further the possibility of creating sports-wagering related lottery games, and also encouraging online casinos to start offering their customers a range of fantasy sports products.

US Lottery Network

The US lottery industry sells around $80 billion in tickets each year, with that figure almost double the $41 billion the country’s 460+ commercial casinos collect on an annual basis. From that tally, $73.5 billion is derived from traditional lottery tickets, while the remaining $6.5 billion is generated from electronic lottery games.

Consequently, the NASPL is in a unique position to set up a sports betting network through its numerous connections with clubs, pubs, and bars throughout the country, as well as the 200,000 retail locations where its lottery tickets are on offer. As mentioned, lottery tickets are also sold online in a number of states, with the NASPL stating that its online lottery platform could be of significant benefit when developing platforms for betting products, including via mobile and website apps. As McIntyre explained in a recent statement:

“The lottery industry is ready to help establish the real-world network that would be involved if called upon to do so. The court’s ruling on PASPA will help preserve the founding principles and integrity of American lotteries [and] potentially provide the freedom necessary to enhance the more than $22 billion that American lotteries returned to their states in FY2017.”