Last year, Super Bowl LII shattered its betting record handling $158.6 million and now with legalized sports betting, 2019 could double with more states on board – more than $300 million, which is just a fraction of the amount of money that could be wagered on the Super Bowl worldwide and illegally. To discuss this topic further, Zac Cohen took some time to answer questions for USBettingReport.com on how legalized sports betting is affecting today’s big game, why the industry needs proper provisions for consumer protection and what practices are being put into place to ensure it, and more.
About Zac Cohen:
Zac Cohen is the General Manager of Trulioo, a hyper-growth Vancouver startup solving global identity challenges associated with international regulatory compliance, fraud prevention and trust and safety online.
What is the anticipated revenue amount with Super Bowl LII now that sports betting is legal in the U.S.?
COHEN: Every year, the amount legally wagered on the Super Bowl increases with Nevada reporting a $20 million increase in 2018 to $158.5 million. Now, with eight states offering legal sports betting, the estimate is that over $300 million will be wagered on the game. But considering that the American Gaming Association estimates that 97 percent of sports betting is of the illegal kind, those numbers point to over $5 billion wagered on Super Bowl LIII.
Do you believe the wagers from Super Bowl LII will have an impact on states that have not yet passed sports betting bills in their jurisdictions?
COHEN: Up to 30 states are considering legalizing sports betting; the question is what is the most effective regulatory framework to safeguard consumers, ensure fair play and optimize revenue generation. While there might be a missed revenue opportunity in the short-term, many states want to see what models work before jumping in.
The sheer volume of participation suggests that previously held negative beliefs and attitudes towards sports betting are eroding. However, for public acceptance to continue to grow it’s imperative that problems associated with gaming are contained and the benefits are seen as flowing to the public. Regulations to control problem gamers, money laundering and underage bettors, as well as effective taxation and appropriate use of funds are fundamental to the success of the industry.
What are some potential fall backs that we could see with such high expectations being held and what is the industry doing in preparation to avoid them?
COHEN: It’s important that sports betting in new jurisdictions not be seen as an immediate cash cow and a panacea to state budgets. Rather, they should be seen as any new industry and given the opportunity to establish themselves. The best way to attract customers, ensure effective operations and long-term growth in revenue is to understand that it will be a process.
Having said that, there’s no room for experimentation when it comes to having proper and clear regulations in place. As the industry deals with so much money, without proper provisions the scourge of problem gambling, money laundering and match fixing could ruin the industry.
Integrity is key to success. Players, regulators and the public at large need to have confidence that the operations are above-board, accountable and are serious about responsible gaming, fighting fraud and protecting all stake-holders. Implementing advanced technology is one way that regulators and the industry can demonstrate they will deploy the tools and processes necessary to safeguard players and society.
Can you please discuss why the industry needs proper provisions for consumer protection and what practices are being put into place to ensure it?
COHEN: Almost anything in excess is problematic. Excessive gaming can quickly ruin lives and have a spill-over effect to society at large. With all the energy and excitement around sports tied with the thrill of winning money, sports gaming is a powerful draw. Add to that, the convenience of betting with a mobile app and the draw can become too much for certain people. The industry needs to protect people from excessive gaming by having effective responsible gambling policies in place that are strictly followed, as well as disallowing underage users and others that should not be playing.
The consumer also needs protection from bad actors such as fraudsters, unfair operations and criminal organizations that will tarnish the legitimacy of the game.
Proper protections work both ways, as they also help the operators by reducing fraud, lowering costs, and providing better customer experiences.
What impact do you believe legalized sports betting will have overall in the U.S. in 2019?
COHEN: For 2019, sports betting will be about developing the proper operational processes to deliver long term success. By offering a legitimate, user-friendly experience, legal sports betting will start attracting users from illegal betting to a safer, more controllable, more beneficial to society framework.
The tax revenue will come, the industry and jobs will develop, but only if the roll-out is done with the proper safeguards and procedures in place. There will be many more Super Bowls to come; creating an industry where $5 billion is bet legally, safely and with oversight ensures that the problems of sports gaming are minimized and the benefits go to society, not criminal elements.