As the sports betting sector kicks into gear for the New Year, IGT’s Joe Asher shares some of his predictions for the next 12 months. He anticipates a greater focus on acquiring more customers in existing locations and the continued market dominance of FanDuel and DraftKings.
Few sectors would benefit more from a crystal ball than the sports betting industry. The next best thing might be a look to insightful industry veteran and SBC Hall of Famer Joe Asher, IGT President of Sports Betting, to collect takes on what the future of sports betting may hold in the new year.
“It’s hard to see any new states really moving the needle in ’24,” began Asher. “I think the continued operator focus will be on getting more customers in the existing jurisdictions and reducing marketing spend.”
He went on to note that there’s “a shot” at new sports betting markets in Georgia, Minnesota and Missouri, though legalization efforts are complicated due to 2024 being an election year. “It’s very hard to see anything happening anytime soon in the two states that would really move the needle – California and Texas,” Asher said.
As far as the competitive landscape goes, Asher sees FanDuel and DraftKings maintaining their leadership status, but thinks there could be movement around the market shares of the leading operators.
“I’ll be watching to see how the introduction of ESPN into the market progresses,” he said. “They’re planning to spend a lot of money on marketing, so that has the potential to change the relative market shares of the existing leaders.
“Additionally, you have to keep your eye on Fanatics to see what they do and the same with bet365. BetMGM has stated they plan to make 2024 a year of investment and focus on product evolution, so, of course, we’ll be watching to see what happens there.”
Asher also discussed retail sportsbooks, an area where IGT PlaySports has carved itself a niche driven through its strong relationships with tribes and its position as FanDuel Group’s exclusive retail platform provider for North America.
“I believe we’ll see brick-and-mortar casinos investing in their sportsbooks environments and extending sports betting beyond the confines of the actual book,” he noted. “The ‘halo effect’ of a vibrant retail sportsbook has been proven time and again through elevated F&B spend, increased visitation, etc.
“Americans love sports – the popularity of the major sports is at an all-time high – and so operators are leaning into products and services that can help them maximize their sports betting investment and spread energy throughout the property.”
A great example of this principle in practice is the IGT PlaySports PeakBarTop cabinet with sports betting. The product allows a customer to play video poker and other casino games and bet on sports on the same device with the same wallet, using the well-known IGT bar top product.
First deployed in Wisconsin in 2023, this hardware now has what Asher describes as a “large deployment” on the books for early 2024, including the Nevada field trial, which would make the solution available in the country’s largest tavern market.
Asher closed by noting 2024 will bring the Super Bowl to Las Vegas – the epicenter of sports betting excitement. “Las Vegas will be the ultimate host city for the Super Bowl,” he predicted. “Last year was the first time that the game was played in a state with legal sports wagering, which was big news…but no one does betting and events bigger and better than Las Vegas.”