Key figures from the US sports wagering sector gathered today to kick off a day-long track of debate and discussion at this year’s Betting on Sports conference at London’s Olympia. 

The opening panel, Roll Out: The Shape of Things to Come, featured Jennifer Roberts, Associate Director at the International Center for Gaming Regulation UNLV; Evan Davis, VP and General Counsel, SugarHouse Casino; John Levy, Chairman and CEO, Score Media and Gaming; and Wayne Kimmel, Partner at SeventySix Capital. M

The aim of the panel session was to share information and perspectives on how the US sports wagering space has been revolutionized in the last 12 months, how each state has addressed legalization and what lies ahead for market incumbents and those seeking to gain entry.

Roberts aired the view that the pace of change in sports betting is moving is expanding more rapidly than any other form of gambling. “There are states that have never embraced casino gambling that are looking at sports betting products. It’s becoming a form of gambling outside of the traditional casino,” she said.

Turning to the issue of which states might legislate next year, she remarked that Louisiana came very close to going legal this year, but competition from video poker and other sectors saw the bill die. 

She stated: “We may see Louisiana try again but the politics are challenging. I Don’t see California legislation passing any time soon and there are some big states that will miss out. Massachusetts is pushing for it and Wisconsin is talking about it.”

Taking a forward looking view, Levy told delegates that the industry is at the top of the first innings, and how the game plays out will be determined by a lot of factors. “Look at the customer for a minute,” he said. “Look at how he or she acts. How are they going to bet on sports? What are people doing and what do people want? That’s the view down the road that we’re aspiring to.”