All Bets are Off: Which UK Betting Brands are Set to Win Big in America?

June 07, 2018 - 5 minute read

In a landmark ruling, the US Supreme Court lifted the federal ban on sports betting recently. Sports betting has been out of the question since it was made illegal in 1992 all over the country (only Nevada was allowed to continue full-scale sports betting) but now, that’s all set to change. 

With the ban lifted, it’ll be up to individual states to decide whether people should be allowed to gamble on everything from baseball to ice-hockey. The opportunity for established betting brands is enormous. This might be particularly true for British betting companies. With years of experience behind them, existing online and offline infrastructures, and a solid hold on how to make sure gambling doesn’t get out of control, they have a huge edge over any American startups. Their experience makes them trustworthy; their existing framework makes them scalable. Get it right, and they’ll have a head start on this emerging market.

But if they’re going to succeed, they’ll need the support of their potential new customers. Since America’s 50 states are about to have their say on the issue of sports betting, we thought we’d ask the American people what they think. Are people open to the practice? Will there be high take-up? And have any British brands already made headway in terms of their brand awareness in America?

In general, America is in favour (or should that be favor!) of the news.

The motivations for this support, however, is varied in its reasoning. Of the 54% of people who were actively in favour of the ban being lifted, the most cited reason as to why was increased personal liberty.

There is a strong feeling that individuals should have the right to choose how they want to spend their money. This sentiment is also echoed in the opinion that states, and not the federal government, should regulate people’s behaviour.

There was acknowledgement that the practice is happening anyway, and that it should therefore be legalised so it can be properly regulated and taxed.

There’s also a healthy contingent of self-proclaimed gambling fans. How many of the people we surveyed are excited to have a flutter themselves? 

With 41.8% of people expressing some level of interest, there’s certainly business to be won. Speaking only to those people who are considering gambling, there’s a clear winner in terms of the sport they want to bet on.

UK betting brands looking to take some of the market share should take note. Targeting campaigns and offers around American football appears to be the most surefire way to attract interest.

And it seems Americans aren’t only interested in betting on national sports, either.

Almost a third of people would be interested in international games. There’s definite scope, then, to extend the pre-built infrastructure of betting on internal sports leagues like the UK’s Aviva Premiership, or Spain’s La Liga, and also international meetings (Formula 1, tennis opens, the Olympics).

And the regularity with which people want to bet? 

It’s likely that this is, in part, due to the novelty of sports betting. Of course, when you’ve not yet been exposed to it, when the app’s not on your phone, and when you’re used to watching sports without the added vested interest of having placed a bet, it’s easy to think you’d only want to do it once a year.

Inevitably, as people get used to the ease of betting, and as it becomes a part of their game-time routine, this is likely to increase.

That said, its a useful data point for British betting brands: it’s going to be worth spending big when it comes annual events like the Superbowl or the US Open, for example.

So which British brands have been waiting in the wings most successfully? Who’s done enough branding in the UK for word to have travelled across the pond?

Bet365 are leading the way, with Sky Bet not far behind. That said, when people were asked to name one gambling brand without any prompting, almost none of these brands came to people’s minds. There was one American who could name William Hill without prompting, but none of the other top British sports betting brands (as according to our latest Gambling Industry Report) were named. The biggest winners here were Draftkings and Fanduel (cited by 4% of people each), and Bovada (3%).

It’s clear from people’s hesitance—a huge proportion of people were unable to name even one sports betting brand, American or otherwise—that this is a fragmented and nascent market. If one of these vaguely-remembered British brands can swoop in and work hard to gain the share-of-mind, and trust, of the US, then they could stand to take significant market share. 

Again, while British brands have not yet done enough to prove themselves to the US, overwhelmingly, Americans don’t have a strong preference.

And amongst those who said they’d rather wager with a British brand, the reasoning was clear: with age comes reliability, experience, and expertise. People felt that these establishments are much more likely to promote responsible betting, given Britain’s healthier relationship with gambling, compared to that of the US.

It’s an exciting prospect and one that shouldn’t be ignored by competitive UK brands. If our data shows one thing it’s that the minds of Americans are open. No one brand has a monopoly, or even a majority when it comes to brand awareness. Viewpoints are fluid, and there’s a sense that, if one brand were to lead the way, there are many in the US who are prepared to consider taking up sports betting, with a brand they’ve not yet heard of.

If you’re a gambling brand who’s looking into US expansion, make sure you get it right: it’s too good an opportunity not to have a pitch-perfect strategy. Get in touch with us today to speak to hundreds of thousands of people across America to get unique insight into the winning formula to a slice of this new market.

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