In this month’s edition of Kambi’s State of the Nation, which offers a breakdown of the US betting industry, Sarah Robertson (pictured) – VP Sales at Kambi – reflects on the last three years of legalized sports betting and how Kambi has been at the forefront of the market’s development.
It is three years since the Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, otherwise known as PASPA, and opened the door to regulated US sports betting on a state-by-state basis for the first time. Today, sports betting is now live in 21 US states and was estimated to be worth $1.5bn in annual gross gaming revenue in 2020, leaving plenty of scope for future growth as more states legalize sports wagering.
As the leading global sports betting supplier, Kambi and its senior management team laid the groundwork to become a key player in the nascent US sports betting market long before that historic decision on 14 May 2018.
In fact, being action-ready for the US, and maintaining a commitment to the highest levels of corporate probity, was a key reason why Kambi was insistent from day one of its inception more than a decade ago that it would never be active in any black or illegal gambling markets.
Such an approach has stood Kambi in good stead in the US. The company is now live and generating revenue in 14 states, including New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania, and its partner roster includes some of the biggest names in US sports betting such as DraftKings, Penn National Gaming, Rush Street Interactive, Seneca Gaming Corporation and Churchill Downs.
The US sports betting market has clearly changed substantially in such a short space of time and Kambi is proud to have been at the forefront of its evolution. So, as the industry celebrates the three-year anniversary of PASPA’s repeal, here are some key numbers which exemplify Kambi’s US journey so far:
1 – Kambi processed the first legal online wager post PASPA
Once PASPA was repealed in May 2018, all eyes were fixed on which company would be first out the gate to make history by taking the first legal online bet. Kambi was in a strong position in this regard having previously held constructive talks with the New Jersey regulator in the months leading up to the Supreme Court’s decision, showcasing the strength of our data-driven technology and building an understanding of what the expectations would be for regulated sports wagering in the Garden State.
Furthermore, Kambi was quick to strike commercial agreements with future market-leading operators. Among these were DraftKings which, powered by Kambi technology and helped by our vast experience in powering launches in regulated markets, accepted the first legal online wager post-PASPA on 1 August 2018.
3 – Kambi processed 3x the number of wagers for the Super Bowl in 2021 compared to 2020
Kambi’s expansion into the US market has seen American football become one of the most popular sports to bet on across the entire global Kambi network, second only to soccer in 2020.
It is also the sport most favored by first-time bettors in the US. Kambi has long had a leading NFL product, investing in areas such as instant betting for which Kambi was first to introduce markets for ‘result of current drive’, ‘first play’ and ‘to gain a first down’.
Investment in product, a rapid expansion into new states and a growing partner portfolio is why Kambi processed three times the number of wagers for the Super Bowl in 2021 than it did during the 2020 event.
9 – Kambi powered a launch every 9-10 days in 2020
Last year, Kambi powered more online launches than any other sportsbook partner in the US sports betting market. The company was able to continue its expansion despite the unique challenges of the global pandemic and its impact on the bricks-and-mortar gambling sector, working closely with a growing list of US partners to complete remote launches without the need to be present at the property. In total, Kambi powered the launch of 11 online and 28 on-property sportsbooks in 2020, which amounts to a launch every nine to 10 days.
10 – Kambi has powered 10 market-first launches
Since taking the first legal online sports wager post-PASPA, Kambi has solidified its position as the market’s premier sportsbook partner. Key to this success is Kambi’s strong track-record of powering more market-first launches than any other sportsbook in the US.
In total, Kambi has powered 10 market-first launches since 2019, most recently in Michigan where Kambi supported the simultaneous online launch of four partners within seconds of the market going live and, in the process, took the first regulated online sports wager in the state. Other states where Kambi and its partners have been first to go live include Colorado, Illinois, New Jersey and New York.
27 – Percentage of Kambi’s US staff who are traders
Building on its early success in the US market, Kambi set out to establish a permanent presence on American soil, including a US-based trading team. In Q2 2019, Kambi cut the ribbon at its first office in the US, located in the heart of Philadelphia.
The Philadelphia office has since scaled up quickly to more than 50 staff members, 27% of whom now work in Kambi’s US trading team and are experts in their field. The Philadelphia office also houses risk managers, partner support, technical engineers and sales executives, among others, and we continue to look for talented people.