From the turn of the century until 2011, the U.S. betting market has been in a state of flux, with a number of conflicting regulatory measures having largely canceled out any growth or expansion.
Despite some setbacks, however, the last few years have seen some considerable breakthroughs in America’s iGaming marketplace, with online poker having been legalized in Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania during the last eight years.
Last year also saw a landmark moment in the history of U.S. sports betting, as the Supreme Court moved to strike down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in May. This law had previously prohibited sports betting at the federal level, and since this time a number of states have legalized this practice.
What Will This Mean for the NHL?
Unsurprisingly, Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania were all quick to add sports betting to their iGaming platforms, whilst New York, Rhode Island and West Virginia are amongst the others to follow suit.
Whilst this will have an obvious effect on popular sports betting disciplines such as American Football and baseball, however, how will it impact on hockey and the NHL? After all, hockey has never been a highly generative sport from the perspective of betting revenues, and in many ways, the decision to strike down the PAPSA of 1992 will do little to change this.
However, it would be wrong to think that the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling won’t have an effect on the NHL or its leading teams. In fact, according to a study by Nielsen Sports for the American Gaming Association, this legislative shift could help to increase the annual revenue of the NHL by as much as $216 million.
But why is this the case? Firstly, the report sites the heightened levels of fan engagement associated with the sport, with existing supporters being presented with a new and immersive way of interacting with their team.
This, in turn, could translate into the increased consumption of NHL content and merchandise, allowing franchisees to bank more and increase their bottom line profit margins.
The NHL will subsequently be able to leverage additional revenues in the form of sponsorship, advertising, and product fees, creating an even greater opportunity for growth in the future.
The Last Word
Even on a fundamental level, the rise of sports betting in the states will potentially help to attract new fans to the NHL and individual franchises, and this represents a win-win for everyone.
Interestingly, the legislative change has also come at the ideal time for the sport, as last season also saw the debut of the newly formed Las Vegas-based NHL franchise the Vegas Golden Knights. The side enjoyed a stellar debut season too, narrowly missing out on a play-off victory in dramatic fashion.
Of course, hockey fans who are new to sports betting will also be able to access a wealth of independent comparison sites, which offer them access to everything from
free betting picks to the best online resources for bettors.
With these points in mind, there’s no doubt that the proliferation of sports betting in the states will benefit hockey and the NHL. This is great news for the franchises involved, as well as the fans who are looking for new ways to engage with the sport.