888 Holdings at the heart of NFL betting stateside in 2021

Online sports betting is proliferating more US states by the month, as lawmakers rapidly embrace the economic benefits of a regulated sports betting market.

Online sports betting is proliferating more US states by the month, as lawmakers rapidly embrace the economic benefits of a regulated sports betting market. Colorado was one of the most recent entrants to the US online sports betting scene, just in time for the start of the new 2021 NFL season. Betting became as popular as free spins casino in Colorado. Let’s know some interesting facts.

Colorado’s impact on the market

One of the headline arrivals to Colorado’s sports betting market is the emergence of a Sports Illustrated (SI) branded platform. The iconic US sports magazine, which has been in existence for 67 years, opted to partner with UK-based iGaming giant 888 Holdings to develop a white-labelled online sportsbook on the eve of the 2021 NFL season. SI’s owners Authentic Brand Group confirmed their ambition to launch an online sportsbook earlier in 2021, with its legendary sports media brand marrying well with the innovation and technological foundation of 888.

888 Holdings is now one of the most influential iGaming brands on the planet. Listed on the London Stock Exchange and part of its FTSE 250 index, 888 turned over $849.7m in combined revenue in 2020. All indications suggest that this figure will be smashed by the end of this year.

Its online casino arm is equally as popular as its sportsbook, due largely to its multipurpose welcome promotion, which is one of the top ten sign-up offers for those unprepared to make a real-money deposit of their own. Group revenue was up 7% year-on-year during Q3 2021, which its CEO Itai Pazner puts down to the firm’s “ongoing improvements” to the “usability, quality and safety” of its services.

Its new partnership with Authentic Brand Group’s SI brand could help 888 cement itself in a host of US states before the year is out. 888 hopes to achieve a 5% market share in its first four states offering an SI-branded, 888-powered online sportsbook. If this is achieved, 888 could be looking at an additional $90m on its balance sheet. Aside from Colorado, there are bold plans afoot to launch a new 888-powered SI Sportsbook in the states of Iowa, Indiana, and New Jersey.

The latter of which would be a major move, given that New Jersey’s sports betting sector recently surpassed the $1bn mark in monthly revenue. In total, there is a joint ambition between SI and 888 to launch an SI Sportsbook in a further 15 legal jurisdictions in the next two-to-three years of trading.

SI and 888 emerging on the cusp of a major take-off in football betting this season

The new chapter of Sports Illustrated as a sports betting expert is commencing at a time when football betting stateside is on the cusp of taking off in a big way, with 2021 almost certain to smash revenue records. Industry analyst PlayUSA anticipates more than $20 billion being wagered on the NFL and college football during the 2021-22 season. Some $12bn will be wagered exclusively on NFL betting markets, which could see US sportsbooks post revenues of $800m on NFL betting and $550m on college football betting respectively.

Some of the figures will need to be taken with a pinch of salt, given that the assumptions are based on the successful launch of new online sports betting markets across multiple US states. Nevertheless, a tripling of the forecasted $7.5bn wagered across NFL and college football markets in 2020 would not appear to be out of the question this year, with live events also ramping up in the NCAAF.

The college football schedule was heavily impacted during the 2020 season, and the return of a full program in 2021 has seen many operators invest heavily in football betting this term. Barstool’s branded sportsbook has heavily expanded its US footprint in the last 12 months. We’ve already touched on SI Sportsbook’s launch in Colorado, but the Colorado sports betting market alone has the potential to become a football betting hotbed, with no less than 26 sportsbooks now active in The Centennial State.