Until recently, legal sports betting was limited to just a couple of states.

That’s right…  Nevada, along with very limited betting in Oregon, Delaware and Montana, was the only state that allowed sportsbook gaming – legal sports betting – on the up and up.

Both the professional sports industry and more than a few casino operators wanted it to remain that way.  Without going into details, let’s just say that one casino owner in particular (not a very popular guy in Vegas, by the way) would love to see all online betting made illegal, not just sports betting.

[LISTEN: Why Mobile Advertising Works, Part 2 – PODCAST EPISODE]

There are a number of laws that apply to sports betting – they run the gamut from the Wire Act of 1961, which was redefined in this century to more narrowly apply to online sports betting, to PASPA and the UIGEA and UIBA.  With all acronyms not being created equal, in the modern world, some cash strapped states have decided that they’d like to have a piece of the sports betting pie, and since New Jersey (yes, home of the infamously mismanaged Atlantic City) found itself in need of additional revenue, former governor Chris Christie went to court to challenge PASPA, which was the law that prevented states from writing their own rules about gambling and sports betting.

Those pesky states rights again.

It’s definitely crazy how states rights and sports betting turn up holding hands and getting all cozy, it kind of reminds me of the situation in the cannabis industry.  Ok, more than kind of reminds me, it’s almost a parallel, except that cannabis – at the moment – is a way bigger industry than state sanctioned sports betting of the legal sort.

[Tweet “Sports betting – $150 BILLION yearly – 97% of which is illegal.”]

That’s likely to change though, in the coming months and years; whether or not we can bet on spending on sports betting outstripping spending on legal gambling is a proposition bet in and of itself.  Now that SCOTUS has weighed in, with a 6-3 opinion in favor of allowing states to draft and implement sports betting laws without federal oversight, it’s time to move into implementation and marketing plans.

To app or not to app?

As usual, all things seem to make their way around to this question, at least in regards to mobile marketing and advertising.  Most states are woefully behind in their understanding and use of mobile apps, and it’s still very possible that new legislation could create real problems and restrictions for app based sports betting products.

[READ: Do You Make the Most of Your Marketing Collateral? – BLOG POST]

I’m not saying for sure that’s going to happen, but I do see it as possible – especially if the app is designed to facilitate sports betting with a book that isn’t friendly with the state.  If you’re not familiar with the history of sports betting in the modern era, a few quick searches will give you a trove of materials to dive headfirst into for fun.

If you are a potential affiliate, looking to start working with sports betting, sportsbook, or other state legal gaming traffic, it’s likely not in your best interest to develop and attempt to market an app.  We’ve talked a million times on why this is almost always the correct answer, in blog articles, podcasts, you name it.  Bottom line here – unless you own the “casino”, then you’re much better off to protect your traffic sources and to maintain your relationship with the bettors, as opposed to handing them off to the casino operators and having to depend on their largesse to make sure you get paid.

Obviously you’re going to have to push your customer base to an actual casino in order for money to change hands and affiliate payouts to be generated, and that’s fine, not an issue.  What I am saying, however, is that it’s much easier for you to retain the ability to re-market to your traffic if you use an interstitial ad platform that you control – frequency, message, traffic routing – versus simply giving the traffic over and never being able to market to them again.

Are you running a “sports betting advice” site?

Just like the heady days of online poker, and 900 numbers before that, I fully expect there to be a resurgency in legitimate online, subscription based, “sports betting advice” type of affiliate websites.  Consumers love these sites, operators can go with the free model, the freemium model, or the paid only version, and since it’s a recurring subscription type of thing, it’s fairly easy to setup and maintain.

[DOWNLOAD: 3 Steps to a Successful Online Strategy – FREE WORKSHEET]

Using the subscription model means that any affiliate commission from bets actually placed is gravy on the mashed potatoes; using mobile lock screen notifications to send out updates to subscription members based on the buy in level of their subscription is one of the easiest ways to set up and deploy campaigns.

The setup for this type of messaging isn’t all that difficult – it does, however, require getting a bit more information from the users when they install a pass, since you’ll need a means to be able to verify that they are supposed to be getting notifications as a paying customer; if they stop paying or change their subscription level, then the amount of information they should receive will change.  You’d also want to be able to do CTAs to expired members that still had passes in their mobile wallets, offering them options to rejoin, variable pricing, and to simply market them as raw traffic that you hand off to other sites in exchange for recurring or one time commission.

What’s the takeaway here?

Bottom line is this – if you’re running actual bets, you should be looking at an app, especially if you’re going to get the appropriate state licenses and all that good stuff; you know, the recommended route that keeps you out of jail…

If you are running an advice site, or some other non-transactional product that is peripherally involved with sports betting, then you’re likely better off to save your resources for paid traffic and use mobile wallet ads to leverage and manage your traffic flow.  Lock screen notifications are a great way to communicate and push CTAs to garner more income or to upsell, cross sell, or rehash old customers to spend new and bigger amounts of money with you or with your sponsors or advertisers (and I didn’t even touch on how you can leverage mobile wallet ad campaigns with sponsor based promotions yet), so that you can profit.


Now is the time to get a solid strategy in place so you are ready as soon as the states implement their new sports betting programs!