The US sports betting and igaming could be worth as much as $20bn by 2030 according to Barry Jonas of Truist Securities. The Senior Gaming Analyst offered his prediction during the first day of the Betting on Sports America – Digital Conference held earlier this week.

Moderating a panel titled ‘Identifying the path to success for operators’ – sponsored by Aurum Solutions – Jonas was joined by Luisa Woods, Vice President, Marketing Gaming and Entertainment at Delaware North

She echoed his estimations, saying: “I think that they’re reasonably realistic depending on how we solve a couple of issues. The way that the land-based gaming industry has developed in the United States – it’s regionally regulated and administered – one of the challenges we have is that with land-based gaming, people flow quite freely across borders. 

“Once you get into online gaming, this concept of playing from your couch suddenly your affiliations need to change. If I am living on the border of West Virginia, in Pennsylvania I can not sit on my couch and wager on sports with my home casino which is sitting on the other side of the border, so suddenly the way I have to transact has to change.”

Woods noted, however, that questions still need to be answered in relation to supporting businesses around regulatory state lines, with regards to creating and funding accounts before the market’s potential can be realised. 

She continued: “I don’t think there is a real awareness outside of the specific online industry of how little support there is for online gambling transactions within the financial sector. 

“The challenges that operators face with customers trying to set up an account, trying to get successfully identified and verified and then depositing funds into their accounts. Until we can create a frictionless experience then I don’t think the potential will be realised but if we can overcome those hurdles then absolutely.”

Joining Jonas and Woods on the panel was Frank Fantini, CEO of Fantini Research, who echoed Woods’ observations stating that her points are not considered by a majority. 

He explained: “People tend to look at here’s the population and here’s the win per capita and therefore that’s what the market is going to be without stopping to think of these practical considerations.

“Those estimates have ranged all over and I find that investor expectations are more optimistic than the reality and you can see that in the valuations. You see companies that are selling at 20-30 times the future sales even though they are not making a profit yet.

“For myself, doing a back of the envelope calculation, I think it’s realistic to expect sports betting to mature with legalization in almost all jurisdictions at $12-$13bn a year and I should think that igaming would maybe mature at $18-$20bn dollars with legalization in maybe half of the jurisdictions representing 60% of the population.”

Tying up the estimations of the overall market of sports betting and igaming, Wood’s claimed that when evaluating the potential in growth between sports betting and igaming markets one of the factors to consider is the velocity of sports betting opportunities. 

She stated: “I can sit down in front of a slot machine and push repeatedly and I’m not going to run out of things to bet on. 

“When it comes to sports betting, first there was betting on the outcome of the game and then there was this innovation of in-play and I think as product innovation happens those opportunities to bet are going to increase and therefore the potential upside of the sports betting market as a potential of total gaming is going to increase and I think in the future could even supersede other forms of icasino.

“In the short term, icasino has a much greater revenue opportunity but we’re seeing significant shifts in people’s appetites with wanting to wager on what they perceive as skill-based rather than entirely chance-based games and as long as the market continues to innovate and to create more opportunities to bet more frequently we’ll see that balance shift.”