IAG October 2015 - page 6

he sports wagering world is changing fast. Several
US states are looking into legalizing sports betting,
potentially breaking the last wagering monopoly of
Nevada, where the sports book lounge—with TV
monitors showing contests in progress and wagering
by handheld devices—has become as much a Las Vegas staple as
the sequined showgirl. North American sports governing bodies’
solid front of opposition to betting began to crack last November
on the
New York Times
op-ed page when National Basketball
Association Commissioner Adam Silver urged regulating and
In Focus
monopoly couldboost revenue
andenlivengaming floors
legalizing the estimated $400 billion US illegal betting market.
That would bring Uncle Sam into line with Europe where sports
betting is bigger and utterly ubiquitous, with major wagering
brands dominating the sideline advertising and even blazoned
across player kit. Daily fantasy sports, booming on websites such
as DraftKings and FanDuel, built $1 billion valuations, attracting
investors such as Disney and Fox Sports, mainstream website
imitators such as Yahoo, sports leagues as sponsors and sports
fans by the millions forking out entry fees equivalent to Nevada’s
sports bettinghandle in apursuit that, but for a loophole inUS law,
would be calledproposition betting.
The revolution in sports wagering stretches far beyond the US.
The digital age hasmade betting online and by phone app possible
as well as introducing new ranges of wagering. In-running (or in-
game) betting with odds calculated with the real-time precision
of financial trading and provided by the likes of investment bank
Cantor Fitzgerald’s CG Technology, has revolutionized the sports
wageringmenu and is estimated to account for 75% of the betting
handle. eSports, featuringprofessionals playing combat games such
as Defense of the Ancients and League of Legends, are parlaying
their massive viewership—League of Legends 2014 Finals had 30
million global viewers, better numbers than this year’s NBA Finals
did onUS TV—into conventional and fantasy betting, withmainline
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