Dave McDowell, co-founder and CEO of FSB Technology, has outlined a fragmented road map to regulation for betting stakeholders targeting the US.

Speaking at the recent Betting on Football conference , McDowell warned potential market entrants that while there are high expectations for rapid take up of regulation, reality points to a much slower pace of change.   

Addressing a panel dedicated to supplier prospects for the US, he commented: “It’s a mixed take of go really, really fast and expect it to be really, really slow. This has the potential to be one of the largest regulatory changes in the global market in the decade with the exception of some place like China opening up. It is an absolutely massive market. But I think we also have to be cautious.

“Even though everyone’s going to be scrambling and rushing to get new products for New Jersey and Pennsylvania on line as quickly as possible, it’s still going to take time for these legislative bodies to not only put the laws in place, but also to set up the regulatory bodies to try to understand how to regulate sports betting. It’s definitely going to be a game of patience rather than just a market appearing overnight.”

Talking in more detail about how different states may look to legislate betting and introduce new legislations, McDowell noted: “In the US market there is somewhere around one thousand commercial and tribal casinos and you’ve got states of very different sizes – some very small states and some very large states which I’m sure we’re all going to be cheering for and diving after. But I think we’re looking at a market which is going to be highly fragmented.

“You have maybe a dozen to 15 casino groups which are multi-state operators which, again, are going to be the crown jewels to go after. But there are literally a thousand casinos in America that don’t have a sportsbook set up or miss out on the market. So what I think we’re going to see is, from a technology point of view, it’s going to be very important that you have the lowest possible total cost of operation. How can you very quickly deploy a platform, get it situated in the state in the most cost effective way? And I also think it’s going to mean we’re going to see a proliferation of self-service betting terminals.”

Pointing to the US’ complex scenario, McDowell further ventured that there could be as many as 40 different regulatory frameworks. “I don’t see states working together on regulation,” he offered.

“There will definitely be crossover; there will be some information sharing to try to get best practice. But if you look at the regulatory/legal structure, each state is independent. Each state has its own congress and senate and they make their own laws and it would be a long shot to assume that each state actually implements the same law.”

SBC Americas analysis: The more we learn about an unregulated US sportsbook market, the greater the number of questions arises as to how it will all play out from state to state. McDowell’s opening salvo regarding the slow pace of change versus high level of expectation tells us that we need to exercise a significant degree of caution when it comes to predicting how, when and where the market will go legit.