The Uncertain Future of Marketing in the U.S. Sports Betting Industry

Written by: Mike Lukas
Updated January 5, 2023
4 min read
  • Sports Betting Industry Insiders Weigh in on the Evolution of Sports Betting Marketing

  • Sports Gaming Marketing Must Turn Profits While Prioritizing Responsible Gambling

  • As the U.S. Sports Betting Market and Customer Base Evolves, So Must its Marketing

Uncertain Future Marketing Sports Betting

Sports Betting Industry Insiders Weigh in on the Evolution of Sports Betting Marketing

As the legal U.S. sports betting market approaches its fifth birthday in May 2023, its ever-present side hustle is also growing up and evolving, that being the industry’s marketing universe, an age-old gateway to more customers that could backfire if mishandled or overused.

As this industry grows up and matures, the future role that marketing will play is uncertain since old sales tactics will no longer get the job done, so we talked to three sports gambling industry insiders about how they see that part of the market evolving.

Weighing in are Martin Lycka, SVP for American Regulatory Affairs and Responsible Gambling at Entain, Alex Kornilov, CEO & Founder of BETEGY, and Bill Pascrell, III, Trustee at Entain Foundation U.S., all with a huge stake in the direction that sports betting marketing might take.

Turns out that the future might involve a more sophisticated balance between making money and keeping bettors safe.

Sports Gaming Marketing Must Turn Profits While Prioritizing Responsible Gambling

A primary goal of every American industry is to make money, and BETEGY CEO Kornilov believes the new legal U.S. sports betting market must continue to grow its revenue as it adjusts the tactics it's using to draw in new customers:

“There’s going to be one major challenge that will define all big brand sportsbooks in 2023 … working out how to turn a profit. The honeymoon period for sportsbooks’ big bucks marketing campaigns needs to stop if big brands want to find themselves in the green.”

That’s a reference to all the freebies and bonuses new customers have been receiving just for signing up to different sportsbooks, an initial marketing tactic that Kornilov calls “planting the flag,” which costs big upfront money.

The pathway to “a truly efficient, targeted, and scalable marketing spend,” Kornilov believes, can be achieved “by more targeted, efficient advertising delivered with surgical precision.”

Entain trustee Pascrell believes “the importance of promoting responsible gambling can't be overstated, and it ought to go far beyond a 1-800 number at the bottom of an ad,” that issue the main pushback to growing this legal U.S. sports gambling industry.I“Responsible gambling will become more integrated into sports betting operators' marketing strategies in the coming months and years.”

As industry growth occurs, that customer base will also evolve, and Entain SVP Lycka sees that as one of the major challenges for marketing.

As the U.S. Sports Betting Market and Customer Base Evolves, So Must Its Marketing

Over thirty U.S. states (and growing) have already legalized their own sports betting market, at first attracting veteran gamblers looking for reliable ways to place bets, then gradually appealing to newer bettors hoping to add some excitement to their sports entertainment.

Entain SVP Lycka understands that “as the legal sports betting industry grows across the country, we will see new types of bettors enter the sphere and diversify the current audience of bettors,” a truth that will no doubt affect the direction of future promotional efforts.

“Operators will personalize their marketing campaigns to communicate effectively with these new customer groups. As the betting audience changes, so too must operators' approach to targeting and personalization.”

Balance and growth could help define the positive future of sports betting marketing in the U.S. as it nears its fifth year of (legal) existence, that profit-to-happy-customer ratio is a tough one to master no matter what industry is attempting to evolve.  

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Mike Lukas

Sports Betting & Gambling Industry Analyst

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Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager.
Nationality: American
Education: N/A
Favourite Sportsbook: bet365 Sportsbook
Favourite Casino: Caesars Palace Casino
23 years
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