For many years now, real-money betting has been something of a taboo subject in the United States. Casino gaming has been largely illegal for a long time, and with a few exceptions, sports and event betting has been also. These types of entertainment simply aren’t major parts of American culture.
This is all starting to change however. Several states are getting on board with new initiatives to make sports betting legal, following a federal decision that essentially decriminalized it. New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Nevada have already made betting legal, and nearly two dozen additional states have started the formal process of debating the matter. That means less than half of the country is, as of this moment, holding out against legalized betting.
It’s been a fun story for sports fans and betting enthusiasts to follow. The truth is that millions in America were already betting illegally, and those people are now seeing a favorite activity becoming a mainstream form of entertainment. Adding to the fun of it all has been the fact that some of America’s major sports leagues have gotten directly involved – most notably the NBA, which appears to be taking an active role in organizing betting avenues for its fans. As much as this has all been fun however, the gradual legalization of betting activity in the U.S. also carries broad implications for technological innovation. In fact there are several specific developments that are likely around the corner as betting becomes more widely available.
A Whole New Category Of Mobile Apps
In places where betting has long been legal, there can actually be a somewhat old-school feeling to the activity. There tend to be a few different options for how to place a bet. One can walk into a physical sportsbook, place a bet online, or occasionally use an app. But the sportsbook facilities often feel somewhat outdated, the online platforms are sterile, and the mobile apps are just extensions of the sites.
In the U.S., there will be a variety of options as well. But because everything is going to be new, there will likely be a more cutting-edge feel to it all. That likely means nice or multi-faceted sportsbooks (some existing chains like Buffalo Wild Wings are already talking about adding sportsbooks to existing venues), as well as clean, sharp, modern bookmaking websites. Most of all though, it almost certainly means a new category full of betting apps.
These apps will come from all sorts of companies, from established UK betting firms, to brand new U.S. companies, to – potentially – America’s official professional sports leagues. They’ll be brand new, and will reflect what people want to see in modern apps, in that they will be attractive and easy to use. Within very short time, these apps will comprise a whole new category.
The connected stadium has come out of obscurity to become a fairly urgent modern issue in the sports world. All of a sudden, you almost can’t read about a new stadium being planned or built without mention of WiFi, data connections, and the fan experience. The simple fact is that people attending sporting events like to share information with each other and with people at home, and leagues and teams need to facilitate these experiences in order to keep people interested in live experiences.
Because of this, 5G is being integrated in stadiums, and fans are looking forward to having faster and more reliable mobile connections while attending sporting events. To be clear, this was needed even before sports legalization started to spread across the country. Now, however, the need for well-connected stadiums is only getting more urgent. People want to be able to check in on bets and even make live, real-time bets while attending events as well, which will only intensify the push toward 5G and better WiFi in what will likely be known as connected smart modern stadiums before long.
AR & VR Experiences
Mixed reality – AR and VR – are already factoring into sports viewership, and the general takeaway has been that there are highs and lows to the idea. People who have either directly experienced or read about VR sports viewership tend to find the idea intriguing, but there aren’t little sentiment that it’s going to revolutionize how we watch sports (as some believed it might). However, the sports betting factor changes the picture a little bit, potentially with more regard to AR than VR.
This speaks again to the idea of live betting mentioned above. Through these these technologies, live betting can and will be implemented in a very thrilling fashion. Through VR, people will be able to virtually attend sporting events from home, yet see betting options flashing across the screen as they become available. Through AR, at least when AR glasses become popular consumer products, people can actually attend sporting events, watch through clear glasses, and still be alerted to relevant betting information. It’s a thoroughly futuristic-seeming idea, but another tech innovation that will almost certainly come about as a result of the sports betting wave.
Rising Tech Sports
In a more tangential way, sports betting may also contribute to the rise of entire new sports based on technology. For instance, there is already a robust betting market surrounding eSports, and a similar market would help to facilitate the growth of the Drone Racing League as well. Down the line, it’s not so hard to imagine VR headsets paired with machines and multiplayer programs resulting in brand new virtual sports that could also be organized into professional leagues. These aren’t direct cause-and-effect ideas, in that betting isn’t actually leading to the invention of these sports. However, the pure coincidence of betting being legalized in America just as sports like these are emerging will lead to ties between the two, and likely boost growth across the board.