Robin Roy: “We’re eagerly anticipating the PASPA decision.”

With the much-anticipated decision from the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) regarding the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) still in the offing, Sportradar’s Director of Sales for North America, Robin Roy, offered his take at Betting on Football 2018 last week.

Roy, speaking on the ‘USA Making America a Great Market Again’ panel at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday, offered invaluable insight to a packed house in the Harris Suite on his expected SCOTUS outcome, the process for companies wishing to explore the market and what regulators need to avoid.

“We’ve been moving towards this outcome for a while now and we’re eagerly anticipating the outcome of the decision,” he explained early on. “If you look at the PASPA case on purely a state’s rights question, I see two likely outcomes – either a full repeal or no repeal. If the court rules that it’s unfair that four states can offer sports betting and others can’t, it seems logical there will be a full repeal. I don’t see how just adding New Jersey satisfies the states’ rights question.”

Discussion then turned to the pathway that companies will likely look to follow, should the US betting market be opened up by the SCOTUS ruling.

“In the US, the majority of casinos and racetracks etc have little to no sports betting experience so what they are looking for are turnkey solutions, someone who can come in and do absolutely everything,” Roy continued. “Partnerships will be key to be able to come into the market because very few companies can offer turnkey solutions. Also, the licensing process in each of these states is going to be a very invasive experience and time consuming.

“A lot of parties are going to be turned off by the process and think that it’s not worth it and, of course, some parties may not even make it through the process.”

As the 45-minute session drew to a close, Roy’s final thoughts centered on what obstacles could face betting companies and how they can keep themselves competitive against offshore rivals.

“The main competition for the casinos in the US are not going to be the casino next door, it’s going to be the offshore market. So many punters are already using these offshore sites and there are a lot of hurdles that regulators will need to overcome,” he added.

“States need to keep taxes low, because with high taxes comes less returns for the punter who will see they get more return on investment in the offshore market, they need to allow mobile betting, because some are already leaning towards only doing bricks and mortar. That is self-defeating because offshore has online and mobile and its convenient. Upwards of 70 per cent of sports betting is mobile now and if regulators don’t allow that then the market won’t reach its full potential.

“Take the integrity fees – it’s been proposed in one or two states but they haven’t been adopted yet. It could be that it’s just the opening bid and it could be negotiated so it remains too early to tell what the impact will be. If it remains too high though then it could be another tax or levy and could keep some punters offshore.

“Punters may also be put off if they are not allowed to bet on college sports. College football in Las Vegas has now overtaken NFL in terms of revenue, there’s just so many more games and it’s easier for sharp punters to make money on that. So, if US-based regulated and licensed operators end up being unable to offer college betting, that betting will, in all likelihood, remain and thrive in the offshore markets because, put simply, US punters want to bet on college sports.”