US Sports Betting Adds Down by One-Third 

Responsible gambling policies and how operators are allowed to advertise their products are currently hot topics of conversation in the USA. With more states joining the sports betting movement, problem gambling figures are rising, and many states are reporting increased problem gambling helpline calls, leaving regulators to look at ways of increasing player protections and RG awareness.

Restricting advertising is often seen as a way forward because while it usually includes responsible gambling messaging, its broad targeting means it frequently reaches vulnerable audiences and glamourizes gambling, especially in the USA, where celebrity and influence sponsorship is common. 

This week, the American Gaming Association released the results of a Nielsen study investigating sports betting advertising. The study reported a drop in spending and TV spots:

  • "Total advertising spending related to sports betting (excluding DFS) declined by 21% from 2022.
  • Sports betting ad volume was down 4% year-over-year across all channels, having contracted 20% from the 2021 peak.
  • Advertising volume across TV—the largest category for sports-betting advertisers—declined more—11%—and has decreased 33% since 2021.
  • Sports Betting's share of total TV advertising volume was 0.4% in 2023, slightly lower than Alcohol (0.5%), Telecom/Wireless (1.5%), Fast Food (3.8%), and Pharmaceuticals (14.1%).
  • For every sports betting advertisement on TV in 2023, there were more than 3 telecom/wireless commercials, 8 TV spots for fast food, and 31 pharmaceutical commercials."

However, according to the report, the drop in volume and spending reflects more localized campaigns based on the state-by-state approach and decreased requirements to onboard players as markets mature rather than a responsible gambling push.

New YouGov polling data of 2,000+ US sports bettors in January 2024 is in, and the results are fascinating. The poll's respondents were 71% sports bettors and 29% prospective bettors. 

The poll assessed which bookies are most popular with which age groups, which in-app features matter most, and the next frontier in sports betting. The headline results showed:

  • Of the current bettors, 72% were male. 65% were aged 25-44.
  • 73% of sports bettors used more than one app. 43% used three or more.
  • While DraftKings, FanDuel, and bet365 are the most used sportsbook apps/sites overall, younger sports bettors are more likely to use emerging sportsbooks like ESPN BET more frequently.
  • DraftKings is the most popular option for those aged 35-55+, followed by FanDuel, then BetMGM in third.
  • For those aged 21-34, bet365 is now the most popular option, followed by DraftKings and FanDuel.
  • The number one reason for creating a new account is a good welcome offer, followed by good bonuses and promotions. Similarly, a good welcome offer was the number one reason for prospective bettors to get started.

Bet365 has been credited with taking a slow and steady approach in the USA. Compared with other big brands that have already folded to stiff competition and market pressures, like Wynn, Pointsbet, and Kindred, Bet365 has the winning approach.

The entire YouGov report, with data visualizations, is well worth reading, especially if you're keen to learn more about player sportsbook preferences and the importance of live streaming—check it out here.

DraftKings and Rush Street Gaming: The Q1 Rankings

DraftKings has raised its full-year revenue guidance after an "outstanding" Q1 performance. Revenues increased 52.7% year on year (YoY) to $1.18 billion (£936.2m/€1.09bn). 

DraftKings' CEO and co-founder Jason Robins attributed the growth to customer engagement, the acquisition of new players, expansion into new jurisdictions, a higher hold percentage on sports, and better promotional reinvestment.

Meanwhile, Rush Street Interactive also recorded revenue increases, which led the company to adjust its full-year guidance. The company hit a new quarterly revenue record of $217.4 million (£173.7m/€203.0m), up 33.9% YoY for Q1. 

RSI CEO Richard Schwartz said the growth is due to more new players joining RSI platforms, which tended to be high-value players. He also spoke positively of Delaware's early impact (RSI took over as the platform provider in DE at the start of 2024) and the company's performance in Mexico and Colombia.

ESPN Bet and PGA Championship Partner Up

This week, the PGA Championship became the first major golf tournament to partner with a sports betting brand after signing a three-year deal with ESPN Bet.

Under the deal, ESPN Bet will become the official sports betting partner of the PGA Championship, which will take place between 16 and 19 May at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville.

ESPN Bet will have special access to broadcast and content offerings. It will also have an on-site lounge providing refreshments, betting, and a view of the par-4 13th hole.