A number of iGaming companies holding a Maltese licence are closely following developments in the USA where states are legalising sports betting and online casinos, with some moving fast to cement their presence in what is expected to be a fast-growing sector.
Online gambling in the USA is regulated at state level, and each state’s approval is limited to that respective state, so only players within a particular state’s borders are able to use products registered in that state.
The online gaming market is rapidly expanding after a Supreme Court ruling from 2018 struck down a 1992 federal law prohibiting most states from authorising sports betting, paving the way for sportsbook offerings to enter the market.
The US market also has other restrictions. For example, operators in the online market in Colorado, as in most other states, need to partner with a local stakeholder with brick and mortar presence.
In fact, gaming giant Betsson is entering the Colorado market in a partnership with Dostal Alley Casino, and is planning to launch its proprietary online sportsbook in the state once regulatory approval has been received.
Speaking to BusinessNow.mt, Betsson CEO Jesper Svensson says the company is “really excited” about entering the US market with its Betsafe brand
“We have a proprietary sportsbook product of very high standard and the US market has large potential for us over time.”
He says that Betsson, which has offices in Ta’ Xbiex, intend to use Colorado as a first step to showcase its sportsbook technology and thereafter sell it to other operators in the US B2B market.
LeoVegas, another top iGaming firm with offices in Sliema, is also keeping a watchful eye on developments in the US, with CEO Gustaf Hagman saying the company will “likely be in the US at some point”.
He mentions that interest in the LeoVegas brand is great in the US, with many asking for their platform.
Meanwhile, Tipico, headquartered in St Julian’s, has kickstarted its American journey in New Jersey, the state that was the catalyst for the Supreme Court’s decision thanks to a case brought by former Governor Chris Christie, a close ally of former president Donald Trump.
Speaking to American Gambler, Tipico US managing director Adrian Vella said that New Jersey is the “perfect state” to start in thanks to its “mature, sophisticated mobile sports betting audience”.
He said Tipico welcomes “the competitive environment, especially on the brand and marketing side, as it will help us to test strategies and sharpen our approach to the broader US market as new states open up and we expand our footprint.”
The potential for expansion in the US is huge, with legal and regulatory intelligence service Vixio Gambling Compliance predicting that sports betting can grow to eight times its 2019 levels by 2024, with much of the growth happening online.
Despite it being a different jurisdiction, Malta nonetheless has a role to play in all this.
Mr Svensson in fact says that “the reputation of the regulator and country where we have our operational headquarters is generally a matter of importance for us”.
The change could hit smaller establishments negatively
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