Local Stations Cashing in on Gambling Ad Revenue

(Image credit: Nielsen)

Local TV outlets have hit the jackpot as gambling becomes legalized on a state-by-state basis, according to a report from Nielsen.

Spending on online gambling advertising rose from $10.7 million in the first quarter of 2019, just after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down federal prohibitions, to $154 million in Q1 2021. Local TV accounts for just under 80% of online gambling ads, with the rest going mainly to national digital, network TV, outdoor and local radio. 

Also Read: Nexstar Integrates Venn.TV Gaming Content into Websites

The gains were especially good luck in the middle of a pandemic that largely stifled ad spending.

Gambling has quickly grown to be the 11th biggest spot TV ad spending category with a 2.1% share. The top spending category is legal services at 7%.

Nielsen notes that BIA Advisory Service sees gambling dropping $587 million into the local spot TV market by 2024.

The largest share of online sports betting ads appear in news programming, rather than sports programming. The reason: stations have much more control over their total ad inventory in news versus sports, which often air in primetime, Nielsen said.

The top spender in the category was FanDuel, which bought $57.7 million worth of spot TV in the first quarter. 

Other big spenders were DraftKings, BetMGM, BetRivers, Betfair and PokerStars.

“The overwhelming sea change across the sports and media industries with respect to betting ads highlights a significant growth opportunity for both local and national television,” Nielsen said.

In 2020, online/digital sports betting-related ad spend increased across 180 of the 208 designated market areas (DMAs) that Nielsen monitors. Online and digital sports betting spend in 185 DMAs exceeded $300,000, up from less than $50,000 across those same DMAs in 2017.

“So even though gambling activities are limited to select states, advertising in this category, where legal, is increasing across the overwhelming majority of the country’s 208 DMAs. And that spells opportunity for local news organizations and advertising agencies alike,” Nielsen said.

Nielsen Gambling Ad spenders

(Image credit: Nielsen)
Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.