Prediction #14: Sports Betting Is Going To Explode.

This particular prediction might seem strange as right now very few sports are on and even ESPN is struggling with what material to air.  

However, with the launch of the MLB season, we are starting to see a lot more live sports via TV in the US. And as we do, sports betting is going to be dominant.

Here’s why: 

First, until Covid is resolved, people will be able to watch sports in only one place: their homes. Bars will be closed, sports venues will be closed, and many fewer people will go to friends’ houses (unless they have a sweet outside setup). 

So Sports is going to be consumed inside by the TV, mostly with the same family. People are going to crave interaction, feel bored and need some new “hobbies” to take on, and mostly be in places with high-speed internet and larger second screens (like tablets and laptops).  

At the same time, online-betting has recently become legal in many states, allowing spectators to easily place bets before and during live games.

This combination of events is going to result in a huge tailwind for online sports betting.

How would this happen? Here’s one scenario: First, spectators stuck in their homes are going to start consuming tons of second-screen information on the live game- far more than is given on a television screen. They’ll have their iPad nearby and no one to talk with.   

Then, instead of interacting with their friends, bar-mates or people in adjacent stadium seats, they are going to start commenting/interacting with other fans online. Their back and forth with anonymous chatters will lead to further solidifying their existing opinions. Their opinions will be further solidified by the set of second-screen data they cherry-pick to confirm it.

A surge in online-betting advertisements will encourage them to place their first bets and after that, they will be hooked. Some people will place bets against their friends. Others will place bets against the general community. Many gamblers who normally travel to Vegas and Reno for their fix will start using this as a substitute. And the thrill of placing bets and occasionally winning will cause a new industry to surge – with a plethora of new business models.

It is estimated that illegal online sports gambling in 2019 was already a $150B market or about 12x the size of Las Vegas’ gambling operations. In today’s new environment, the sports betting market is going to be even bigger.

We are already seeing many reports of a surge in retailer investors speculating in the Stock Market equities. Just wait until the NFL season starts…

Opportunities:

  • Paid newsletters providing secret betting information. Yes, these paid newsletters exist but they are going to grow and there will be a lot more of them – many focused on niches.
  • Sports chat platforms with a focus on betting. Expect there to be ample slack-type chatrooms with people focusing on betting
  • Audio-chat-rooms (clubhouse for sports): I’d expect to see some type of Audio-based chatroom for spectators to trash talk with their friends from afar. I’d also expect audio-based commentary by new “experts” who can give a different take than what’s on the TV – focused explicitly for sports betting.
  • Real-time betting advice tools: Expect paid Slack membership groups that give instantaneous betting advice.
  • Real-time betting analysis: More and more companies will emerge that use DL/ML/AI to get an “edge” in gambling
  • Peer-to-Peer betting tools. If betting becomes prolific among friends, imagine an inexpensive tool (say $20 a year) that lets you accumulate and place bets among friends. Several companies exist in this space and at least one will take off.
  • Sports betting derivatives? Derivatives enter every type of speculative/securitized industry so I expect some type of derivatives to happen here.  

If you currently are working on one of these opportunities or want to work on them, please contact me at charlie at iamcharliegraham dot com

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