Focus on IGT: IGT exec foresees continued growth for U.S. sports-betting market Mark Gruetze, CDC Gaming Reports · September 21, 2021 at 8:00 am Even with the explosive growth of legal sports betting in the United States since 2018, the industry theme song could be “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet.” “We will see continued sports-betting growth for the foreseeable future as the industry shows no signs of slowing down at this time,” said Matteo Carli, senior vice president of IGT PlaySports, which provides sports-betting platform technology and hardware. “States and players alike are understanding the benefits of legalized sports betting, and land-based casinos are reaping the benefits of reaching an expanded player base.” In May 2018, the Supreme Court struck down a 1992 federal law that had prevented most states outside Nevada from legalizing and regulating sports betting. Less than four years later, sports fans can place legal bets in 26 states and the District of Columbia. The American Gaming Association says operators in five additional states are likely to begin taking sports bets by the end of this year, further adding to the nearly $27 billion in legal sports wagers placed in the first seven months of 2021. More states are likely to launch legal sports betting through 2023, Carli said, noting that California and Florida, “two densely populated states with a high concentration of tribal casinos,” are on the radar. He added that IGT has contracts with operators in multiple states that have yet to launch sports betting. IGT also is powering sportsbooks that recently began operating in Arizona and Washington, as well as at locations expected to open soon in Connecticut. IGT says its PlaySports technology and hardware is the most-used B2B platform in the United States, with more than 50 locations in 17 states. Underscoring the growth of IGT’s online and sportsbook business, the company announced this month that it had formed a dedicated Digital and Betting business segment consisting of its iGaming and sports-betting activities. The company’s other two segments are Global Gaming and Global Lottery. Carli said online betting is “crucial” to the full success of any sports-betting market, although retail betting remains a “critical service” for players who enjoy the social aspect of the in-person betting experience. “There is an energy that comes from the retail betting experience, similar to that of being at a live sporting event in an arena or stadium, that does not exist in the online environment,” he said. “As we’ve seen in markets such as Pennsylvania and New Jersey, the greatest performance can be achieved when omnichannel sports betting is available to players. The two channels fully complement each other and maximize the potential of a sports-betting operator.” In August, Canada began to allow single-game sports betting, with four of the 10 provinces launching or planning operations. Carli said regulators and operators there can see from the U.S. market that “the industry moves very quickly” and functions best in a competitive environment with online and retail betting and reasonable licensing fees. “Players want choice and convenience for when and where to place bets,” he said. “Players also want to have a personalized experience when placing wagers. Today’s players expect vendors to remember and cater to (their) betting and team preferences.” Carli predicted that more jurisdictions, including Native American tribes, will embrace sports-betting during the next three or four years. “I believe there will be some level of natural consolidation across the gaming industry between both business-to-business suppliers and business-to-consumers entities,” he continued. “The addition of value-added services will also be of interest for both operators and players. These may include a multitude of options, such as extending sports betting beyond the sportsbook in casinos via innovative self-service technology or multigame platforms incorporating sports betting, increased prop bets, more in-play options and deploying new cashless technologies in retail environments.” Giving fans the capability to make sports bets in the stadiums and arenas of professional teams will spur another wave of expansion, Carli said. He noted that IGT partnered with FanDuel Group to power sports betting at the recently opened FanDuel Sportsbook at the Footprint Center, where the Phoenix Suns, Phoenix Mercury and Arizona Rattlers play.