Regardless of where you stand on the issue of gambling in sports, there’s no question Monday’s decision by the Supreme Court to repeal the federal ban on sports gambling will have a number of ramifications on sports in America.
Just a few short hours after the decision was announced, Wizards majority owner Ted Leonsis took to his blog to share his thoughts on the news. He sounds very bullish on its potential:
Sports betting is built on a rock-solid foundation of data, plain and simple. The more data a fan has about a player or a team, the better he or she can predict the outcome of a game, or a possession or a play. And as our data analytics have gotten better, sports betting has only gotten more popular. A 2017 gaming industry study estimated that offshore bookmakers are earning $2.5-$3 billion from people in the U.S who are betting illegally. The same report suggested that about 12-15 million Americans are currently active illegal bettors – and they don’t include “casual” or “social” bettors in that count. The appetite for sports betting is there, and now, instead of offshore bookmakers reaping the benefits, we have a pathway to bring this revenue into the US economy – and to ensure that Americans aren’t getting ripped off when they place their bets.
This isn’t the first time Leonsis has spoken about the potential benefits of opening up access to sports gambling. He spoke with Darren Rovell of ESPN about what the future of sports gambling could look like and even went as far as to say legalized gambling is the only thing that will save the NFL. Clearly, it’s something he’s been preparing for, something he wants to be ahead of the curve on, and something which will shape Monumental’s approach in the future.
While it may not have a direct impact on the Wizards right away, this is certainly something to monitor. Washington D.C., Maryland, and Virginia all now have decisions to make on legalizing sports betting which will impact Monumental’s strategy and how profitable it can be.