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Sports Sites Encouraged by Betting Ruling

The decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to allow states to offer sports gambling services has been anticipated for months, and betting-focused channels like TVG, TVG2 and WinView are ready to pounce on the opportunity. 

TVG and TVG2 (formerly HRTV) focus on horse racing and allow viewers to place bets online, with TVG available in about 45 million homes. Adding other sports like football or basketball to the mix wouldn’t seem to be that difficult.

“It’s a great day for all stakeholders in the sports industry,” said Perform Group CEO Ross MacEacharn in a statement. “This decision gives fans new ways to engage with and enjoy their favorite sports. For betting operators and rightsholders, it presents a unique opportunity to build an efficient, properly regulated betting market from the ground up and design a model for what 21st century betting should be. We look forward to working closely with our rightsholder partners, legislators, regulators and clients to shape the reality of a safe, engaging sports betting environment.”

TVG and HRTV owner Paddy Power Betfair has been trying to crack the U.S. sports market since purchasing the channels’ parent Betfair in 2015. Originally founded in Dublin, Ireland, in 1988 as a string of betting parlors, Paddy Power last year purchased Draft, a fantasy sports app that operates in 35 states.

Also last year, Paddy Power launched Betfair Exchange, an online horse wagering service for tracks in New Jersey, and has similar services in Europe and Australia, where it offers gambling on soccer and rugby matches. Translating that expertise to online and TV betting on football and basketball in the U.S. shouldn’t be that difficult.

Paddy Power Betfair U.S. CEO Kip Levin told Bloomberg last month that not only could TVG handle additional sports betting tasks, the company had plans to build a new studio in its Los Angeles headquarters for a new channel devoted to wagering on football, basketball, baseball, hockey and soccer.

“We’re ready to go,” Levin told Bloomberg. 

Investors drove Paddy Power shares up more than 12% on the London Stock Exchange on Monday. 

But Paddy Power won’t be alone. Other sports fantasy sites and other betting related businesses are expected to crowd the field. Earlier today, fantasy sports site Draft Kings, which had to pull ads on ESPN two years ago after legislators in New York objected, said it would move into the sports betting arena.

"Our mission has always been to bring fans closer to the sports they love and now, thanks to the wisdom of the Supreme Court, DraftKings will be able to harness our proven technology to provide our customers with innovative online sports betting products," said DraftKings CEO and co-founder Jason Robins in a statement. "This ruling gives us the ability to further diversify our product offerings and build on our unique capacity to drive fan engagement."

And ESPN said in a statement that while it is too early to tell what impact the ruling will have on its networks “we are actively monitoring it.”

DraftLings said it has been readying a mobile sports betting platform since 2017 in anticipation of a favorable court ruling. The company said it is working with state regulatory agencies to apply for operating licenses in those states that already allow sports betting.

At WinView, CEO Tom Rogers said his company’s patents for mobile and digital games of skill that users play while watching live sports on TV also could translate into gambling applications.

“These patents govern the synchronization of mobile devices with live television sports among many other elements,” Rogers said in a statement. “These same patents cover gambling and games of chance and we look forward to playing a leading role with mobile technology and other applications as states decide how to implement their individual sports gambling laws as a result of this Supreme Court decision.”