Converting the mature gamblers to the legal markets will be crucial in fully realizing the potential gains of a newly regulated industry. A recent report from research firm Eilers & Krejcik Gaming indicated roughly 12 to 15 million Americans currently participate in illegal wagering and that figure does not include “social” or “casual” bettors that are not frequently placing high wagers on games. The report added that legal sports betting market could approach $6 billion in annual revenue by 2023, something that is based on an estimated 32 states offering sports wagering.
Both legal and illegal bookmakers typically take a commission off of bets, commonly known as “juice” or “vig.” On many bets, it runs 10 percent of the wager, though it can vary from book to book, and the juice is only collected if the wager is lost. For example, if Kevin bets $100 on the Jets and they win, he would receive the full value of the bet, but if Kevin loses, he would owe $110 because of a 10 percent commission.
This model is likely to be the case for any sportsbooks that become legal in other states as well, though the exact commission percentage can vary. It’s unlikely that the regulated markets will take the 1 percent out of the commission, meaning the cost will get passed along to the betters via adjusted odds.
Dr. Laila Mintas of Sportradar, a company that provides data to the NFL, NBA, NHL and several foreign betting operators, believes that this will add to the challenges of ushering gamblers into the regulated market. “If you put too much burden on the [legal bookmakers], they will not be able to compete with the offshore markets,” Mintas said during the same panel discussion with Ma at the MIT Sloan conference.
New Jersey isn’t the only state gearing up for the potential multibillion-dollar opportunity. California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina and West Virginia have all introduced bills opening the door to legalized sports-betting in the future.