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UK Bookmakers prepared for US Sports Betting opening


The decline of the UK high street has been a key talking point for the best part of a decade, with the latest figures showing that the number of shoppers frequenting their local stores has fallen by 10% during the last seven years and this comes off the back of news earlier in the year that bookmakers like William Hill are closing 700 high st outlets.

The one sector that has blossomed on the high street since 2012 is gambling, although the number of land-based bookmakers in the UK is set to decline following the introduction of a dramatically reduced FOBT wagering cap.

As a result of this, British bookmaker brands are increasingly looking to transition online, whilst some are even turning their attention to the burgeoning market in the U.S. But why is this the case, and which UK firms are ideally placed to capitalise?

Why a SCOTUS Case Has Provided a Catalyst for U.S. Market Growth?

In truth, the U.S. market has experienced mixed fortunes during the last decade, particularly from a legislative perspective.

However, we saw a breakthrough moment last May following a much-anticipated ruling on the Christie vs. NCAA case, when the Supreme Court essentially struck down the 1992 PAPSA law that previously banned sports betting at a federal level.

As this law was overturned completely, the decision over whether or not to legalise sports betting was transferred to each individual state authority. This has prompted a significant sea change stateside, whilst also creating an opportunity for established UK sportsbooks to capitalise.

Gambling-friendly states such as New Jersey and Delaware moved to legalise sports betting within a matter of weeks, whilst the authorities in West Virginia, New York and Rhode Island are amongst several others who have followed suit.

By 2023, it’s believe that the vast majority of U.S. states will have legalised sports betting to some degree or another, with the cumulative size of this growing market expected to peak at around $6 billion during this time.

The Race is On - But Which UK Brands Will Win?

Whilst several bookies are interested in expanding into the U.S. market and increasing their turnover, a select few are currently leading the charge.

These include William Hill, which is already established as the British brand with the biggest presence stateside. It’s therefore the most likely to profit from the recent PAPSA ruling, with the operator already dominating the market in Nevada and accounting for 108 of the 190 open sports betting outlets.

William Hill, which continues to be renowned in the UK for its wide range of betting verticals and no deposit bet bonus offers, has also previously partnered with the Monmouth Park Racetrack to build a new sports bar that was immediately converted into a legal sportsbook following the SCOTUS ruling last May.

Elsewhere, Paddy Power Betfair is another brand that’s looking to build a U.S. presence, with this operator currently focusing on the lucrative fantasy sports market through its liquidity pooling arrangement with FanDuel customers.

It’s also likely to expand further in the future, by focusing on sports betting in a number of different states.