Sports betting is now legal and fully operational in 18 states, plus Washington, D.C.Updated Aug 7, 2020 - Sports
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As sports betting comes out of the shadows and the pool of potential bettors increases, companies are experimenting with ways to target general sports fans.
Why it matters: While some aspects of betting remain complex and require time and research, the basic concept of making predictions is understood by everybody.
For decades, the black market — which consists of offshore sports books and local "bookies" — has been the only option for U.S. sports bettors looking to place wagers.
The state of play: Sports betting is currently legal and operational in 18 states plus Washington, D.C. It's legal but not yet operational in four more states, and another seven have active legislation.
Sports media companies are leaning further into sports betting as more states legalize the practice and the NFL and college football seasons kick into gear.
Driving the news: ESPN has entered into separate agreements with Caesars Entertainment and DraftKings, both of which include exclusive link integrations (i.e. affiliate partnerships) across ESPN's digital platforms.
Mike Greenberg's new show, "Bettor Days," debuts on ESPN+ Thursday.
The big picture: The 15-minute show, which tells the stories behind sports betting's craziest wins and losses, is part of a larger sports betting push by ESPN. The company just debuted its new Las Vegas studio, which will host the network's one-hour weekday sports betting show, "Daily Wager," and other related programming.
When the pandemic arrived, the sports betting industry funneled bettors toward the few sports that were actually happening.
What's happening: Now that sports have returned, the industry has benefited from pent-up demand, while also capitalizing on a busier-than-usual summer, with baseball, soccer, hockey, golf and basketball all in full swing.
Despite the lack of live games, sports betting stocks have performed particularly well over the past month, highlighted by fantasy sports/betting platform, DraftKings, and gaming operator, Penn National.
By the numbers: Since going public on April 24, DraftKings' stock is up 82%, while Penn National Gaming — which acquired Barstool Sports in January — is up 130%.