Ricky Gold, CEO of Juice Reel, an app that allows users to track and analyze their bets, believes the US sports betting market can do more to direct bettors to regulated sportsbooks.
Imagine having a sizeable amount of funds in your betting account, only for that operator to report downtime for several days and no indication as to when the site will be back up and running.
This was a worrying reality for some connected with an offshore operator recently, which seemingly went offline for a few days. While operations appear to have returned to normal, it once again highlights the risks involved with offshore sportsbooks.
When the US Supreme Court removed the federal ban on single-game wagering in 2018, giving states the freedom to legalize sports betting, the decision was met with huge enthusiasm from operators, affiliates, and bettors, with all parties excited at the prospect of safe and regulated betting experiences.
Nearly four years on, the verdict has seen more than two dozen states legalizing sports betting. However, the offshore market continues to grow despite the increase of regulated sportsbooks becoming more widely available. It’s important to highlight that the unregulated market doesn’t cease to exist when the regulated operators open up shop. This is a concern that needs to be considered year long and something which should not be taken lightly. It’s vital that we consider this from not just a player safety perspective, but also a sportsbook growth perspective and a tax revenue perspective.
While increased legislation will drive more regulated sportsbooks into the digital environment, is that alone enough to deter bettors away from unregulated operators? As an industry, we must seize the opportunity and ensure we are protecting the interests and welfare of every bettor. We can then start thinking about raising awareness and taking actions to both promote responsible play and reduce unregulated gambling.
In my view, leaving this heavy burden solely on operators is not fair or appropriate. Others in the industry, both B2B and B2C providers, must also take some responsibility to ensure the products they develop can aid regulated sportsbooks and casinos in this important aspect of sports betting.
Recognizing the unregulated market exists is certainly the first step to reducing the traffic illegal operators receive. In my opinion, beyond just advertisements/messaging, taking action to bridge the gap and push the general public into the regulated space takes creativity and ingenuity. Juice Reel, for example, targets and engages bettors who play across all markets, but its features and ecosystem facilitate bets with regulated operators. This means that by using the Juice Reel app, bets that would have otherwise been placed offshore have an increased likelihood of being placed at a regulated operator.
Combining product innovation with safer gambling tools
Last year saw US sports betting handle reach new heights, with early reports suggesting this has continued into 2022. With more bettors intrigued about how they can get involved with the hottest form of entertainment, education about responsible and regulated gambling is vital.
Of course, there are many existing tools that support players, these include deposit limits, self-exclusion, and transfer limits, while support lines are regularly displayed to offer instant help for those in need.
However, combining product innovation with responsibility tools can strike the right balance in promoting safe betting experiences, whilst also generating excitement for bettors.
Bet tracking tools, for example, allow sports bettors to monitor their open and historic bets. On the surface, this might be seen as a simple sports betting feature but there are benefits once you dig deeper.
Giving users this level of visibility allows them to internalize their betting patterns and gain a far richer understanding of their performance as a sports bettor. The benefits are twofold; not only do they receive insight that encourages engagement, but they can also have a greater grasp on their profits and losses.
Juice Reel’s own bet tracking platform goes a step further by directing users only to regulated sportsbooks, ensuring they are placing wagers within a safe environment. While there are several tools that support responsible gambling, not many products guide players to the safest sites. The Juice Reel app prompts players to bet on regulated sites only, as the company does not advertise or redirect players to illegal gambling operators.
Over the coming months, we are hopeful that more states will embrace legislation that will result in an increase in regulated sportsbooks and regulated play. If and when that occurs, everyone still needs to do their part to reduce unregulated play and promote responsible gaming.
Ultimately, we all want to keep the momentum building in the US sports betting landscape and make it the home of the world’s best betting experiences. Neglecting our responsibility in providing a safe and responsible environment has the potential to restrict further growth.