Episode 48: Betting on Sports with Dan Kustelski
This past May, the U.S. Supreme overturned the key federal anti-sports betting law. Today’s guest on Brandstorm, Dan Kustelski, is a leading authority on sports wagering and the CEO of Chalkline Sports. He’s talking about what this decision will mean to sports betting in the U.S.
Dan’s company is a data company focused on customer acquisition and retention for casinos, race tracks, media companies and anyone else who wants to engage with sports betters. Chalkline Sports offers free-to-play games to capture names, as well as to educate and engage individuals in sports betting.
Supreme Court Ruling
Last year, about $150 billion was spent on sports wagering in the U.S., and most of it was illegal. The ruling helps states create a framework for managing it just like other legal forms of gambling. It also protects players by legalizing gambling and creates a new source of revenue for states. This decision will likely make the U.S. the largest, legal gambling jurisdiction in the world within three to five years.
Generating Tax Revenue
Although states will have varying tax requirements, the taxes collected will typically be on the net revenue earned by the sports books. For sports betters, it will be no different than players at a casino. Individuals will have to include their earnings on their tax return.
Sports Wagering in the U.S. vs. Other Countries
Dan says the difference is two-part. First, the sports events are different in the U.S. In a controlled environment, like Nevada where sports gambling has been legal, about 38 percent of all bets placed are on American football, 30 percent on basketball and 25 percent on baseball. In Europe and Africa, soccer is about 50 percent of the sports book. The second difference is education. Most Americans do not know enough about sports wagering to place bets. Casinos and tracks will need to educate its customers as a free service and that’s where Chalkline Sports’ free-to-play games come into play. The company is also helping the casinos acquire names through its database, so that when sports gambling becomes legal in their state, they will already have customers.
Casino gamers skew older with an average age of 45, 46 and 47. Dan says sports gamblers are younger, typically 25 to 45 years. This is exciting for casinos and tracks that want to attract a younger audience. Much like fantasy football, sports wagering is more a form of entertainment than it is gambling.
Online and Inline Betting
Dan believes online and inline betting will be where the growth happens in the next three to five years. Some states are already including online, mobile sports books, while others are more cautious and starting with retail sports gambling at least initially.
Inline betting is a more advanced way of betting. It would allow betters to bet on who will win a football game at halftime or put a wager on the points spread. Dan says this is where the future will be as inline and mobile betting are already trending in Europe.
Changing the Media Landscape
The current media landscape is going to change quickly. ESPN “Game Day” already has someone on the show talking about the odds and is planning to roll out a very specific type of gambling show. So is Fox. While odds-making used to be taboo, people will need them to help with wagering. There is also data to suggest that people will become more engaged with a sports program knowing they have placed a bet on something in the show. This is also going to attract new brands that will want to advertise on sports programming.