2022 iGaming, Sports Betting Legalization Disappointing, Says Analyst

Posted on: May 24, 2022, 12:11h. 

Last updated on: May 24, 2022, 12:36h.

Total addressable market (TAM) is essential to internet casino and online sportsbook operators. The more bettors that have access to these products, the better for gaming companies and their investors.

sports betting
The statehouse in Columbus, Ohio. The state is contributing sports betting disappointment in 2022, says an analyst. (Image: News 5 Cleveland)

On that note, barring surprises in the back half of the year, 2022 is shaping up to be a disappointment for the industry. Aside from New York entering the mobile sports betting fray earlier this year, and Ontario, Canada adding single-game sports wagering in early April — indeed marquee events in regulated sports betting history — this year lacks other state-level excitement.

That’s the sentiment of Roth Capital analyst Edward Engel. In a note to clients today, he points to several examples of legislative setbacks creating disappointment for bettors in those states and the industry at large.

The deterrents against online sports betting legalization for most states isn’t necessarily acceptance of sports gambling, but rather gridlock between legislators, where parties can’t agree on industry structures,” writes the analyst.

Currently, iGaming is allowed in just six states, while sports wagering is live and legal in 30 states and Washington, DC.

2022 Sports Betting State Approvals Not Exciting

Year-to-date, the only states to approve sports betting are Kansas and Maine, and of that duo, only Kansas appears likely to be up and running before the end of the year.

“Kansas and Maine may be the only new states that legalize online sports beetting in 2022; although, with a ~3M combined adult population, this represents just ~1% of the U.S. addressable market,” notes Engel. “Market access in Maine/Kansas is also limited to just 4/12 licenses. Without any major professional sports teams, we don’t expect gross gaming revenue (GGR) in either state to be material.”

Conversely, there’s plenty of disappointment to go around. Maryland and Ohio – two states operators are enthusiastic about – appear unlikely to have sports wagering ready in advance of the 2022 football season. In Maryland’s case, it could be well into 2023 before sports betting is ready there, according to Engel.

Compounding those woes are the “triple M’s” — Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Missouri. Sports betting legislation in the latter two is essentially dead, while the odds of Massachusetts joining the party before the end of 2022 are lengthening.

“Massachusetts can still legalize OSB in 2022, where both the House and Senate have passed competing bills. However, significant differences remain in certain areas, such as tax rate and betting on college sports,” adds Engel.

California Dreamin’

Of the big three states of California, Texas, and Florida, only California could have movement on sports wagering this year.

In November, voters there will decide on the fate of competing sports wagering ballot initiatives — one supported by tribal casino operators, and the other driven by commercial gaming companies.

Diminishing the potency of regulated sports betting in the largest US state is that the tribal plan, which includes several racetracks, only permits in-person wagering. That while California just crossed the ominous $6 per gallon gas price — an important point when accounting for many tribal casinos in the southern part of the state being lengthy drives from major population centers.

Potentially further muddying the waters in the state is a scenario in which both ballot propositions pass, resulting in lengthy, costly legal battles.

“Importantly, not only would the online sports betting (OSB) bill need a majority vote, but it would likely need more votes than the tribal bill in order to clear through courts. Early indications indicate such a feat is unlikely, with recent polls suggesting more support for the Tribal bill than OSB,” concludes Engel.