The legalization of sports betting operators, like Limewin, across much of the United States has led to rapid growth in the activity. An estimated 20 states now offer legal sports wagering in some form. This growth has implications for adjacent industries like fantasy sports. As sports betting becomes more mainstream, what exactly is the intersection between betting and fantasy sports?
The Rise of Sports Betting
Sports betting has existed in the U.S. for decades, albeit in more limited markets like Nevada. However, a 2018 Supreme Court ruling overturned federal restrictions, allowing states to legalize wagering within their borders. Since then, the floodgates have opened:
- 20 states + Washington D.C. now offer legal sports betting
- Over $900 million was wagered legally in September 2022 alone
- Experts predict the U.S. sports betting industry will reach $10 billion by 2030
This growth shows no signs of slowing. As more states regulate the activity, even more fans will gain access to legal sports betting in coming years.
Fantasy Sports Remains Popular
Meanwhile, fantasy sports continues its own impressive growth trajectory. Fantasy sports are games where fans build simulated teams composed of real players and score points depending on those players’ actual stats. In 2022, an estimated 65 million people played fantasy sports in the U.S and Canada alone.
Most participation centers around seasonal fantasy leagues. For instance, over 15 million people play fantasy football each NFL season. Leagues range from casual free games to high stakes competitions with large cash prizes.
Betting and Fantasy Sports Share Fans
There is significant overlap between sports betting and fantasy sports audiences. Consider:
- Both activities appeal to dedicated sports fans
- They allow fans to engage deeper with real games and players
- Money is integral element for many participants
- Outcomes are driven by real life sports results
In addition, Internet and mobile technology has made it easy for fans to participate in both sports betting and fantasy games. The same platforms like DraftKings and FanDuel now provide access to wagering and fantasy contests.
Sportsbooks Tailor Offerings to Fantasy Players
Recognizing this audience crossover, sportsbooks are tailoring products to fantasy players. Many now provide fantasy-specific bets called proposition (aka “prop”) bets. These allow fans to wager on specific player achievements during an upcoming game, such as:
- Will Player X have over/under 125 receiving yards this Sunday?
- Will Player Y score the first touchdown of Monday night’s game?
By predicting individual stats vs. game outcomes, prop bets mimic constructing a fantasy roster. This appeals directly to fantasy sports fans’ interests and knowledge base. And while traditional wagering remains popular, an estimated 30-40% of total bets are now props.
Contests and Promotions Also Overlap
Savvy operators like DraftKings mesh fantasy and aviator game real money via contests and promotions:
- Deposit funds for sports betting, get entered into fantasy contest
- Finish in the top half of fantasy league, get free bet credit
- Refer friends for fantasy sports, get sportsbook bonus
These tactics drive cross-pollination between both forms of games. In many cases, they originate from consumer demand and behavior. As more states approve sports betting, expect more integration between real money wagering and fantasy play.
Responsible Gaming is Shared Concern
With increased attention comes increased scrutiny. Both fantasy sports and sports betting face questions around responsible gaming and problem gambling:
- Critics believe money fuels excessive risk taking
- Games may too closely resemble gambling even without cash
- Lack of regulatory standards in some states
The table below summarizes key stats around problem gambling rates between both activities:
|% Showing Problems
|Considered “Low Risk”
|Fantasy Sports Players
Leagues, operators, medical experts and regulators are cooperating to address responsible gaming. Standards include ID verification, deposit limits, advertising guidelines and problem gambling resources. These efforts help provide accountability and consumer protection to fans.
Fandom and Finance Will Further Intersect
Sports betting and fantasy sports make likely bedfellows for years to come. Both activities clearly share psychographic and demographic appeal. As legal wagering expands, the connections between fandom and finance will strengthen.
Common business tactics like cross-promotions and shared platforms will also link betting and fantasy. This integration shows no sign of slowing down. As more states approve sports betting, expect more overlap between real money wagering and fantasy games.
Yet this growth also raises responsible gaming concerns. Standards around advertising, age verification and problem gambling resources must advance in parallel. With cooperation between stakeholders, however, sports betting and fantasy can thrive together responsibly.
The opportunities for fans are also immense. Wagering and fantasy contests take sports engagement to new levels. And the ability to legally bet makes games even more exciting for the shared fan base backing both pastimes.