As sports betting in the U.S. begins its jurisdictional march to what most everyone believes and hopes will be a nationwide (or thereabouts) market, one is reminded that you wouldn’t be in the gaming industry if you weren’t patient.

In this month’s issue of Sports Betting Management, you can read about the issue from the perspective of tribal gaming stakeholders. Tribes, as has been noted, have an extra layer (or two or three) of complexity to deal with as their passage to sports betting, in the vast majority of cases, runs not just through legislation but the compacting process itself and all that it entails.  

And what of the sports media and sports leagues? The question was asked last month in an ICE North America-sponsored webinar by Dustin Gouker, head of content, U.S., Catena Media. Here are the answers he received:

Brian Musburger, CEO, VSiN (Vegas Stats & Information Network): “There was the pre-PASPA era, and what we’re now in is a sort of ugly limbo stage, heading toward post-PASPA. There’s going to be this difficult period where we’re waiting for the leagues to go all-in on sports gambling content. We’re not there yet, but I anticipate in the next 18 months we should be in the post-PASPA era.”  

John Adams, president, Arena Football League: “We see sports betting as a huge opportunity and we certainly fall into the category of those who are going to dive right in. We’re in a good position, where we are relaunching and restructuring the league. That has been done in the past year so we have a blank canvas for a league that has been around for 31 years. It’s time to modernize and it’s the right time. There’s technology focused on keeping fans engaged throughout the course of the entire game as we enter an era of shortened attention spans. At the same time, gambling is being legalized and introduced. These things are coming together at the same time. The history and foundation of our league is based on a fast-paced, high-scoring exciting product that gives more access and engagement to their fans than a lot of the other leagues. New technologies and the introduction of gambling gives us an opportunity to continue with that mission.”

Jason Logan, senior industry analyst, Covers.com: “The appetite is growing for sports betting and sports betting information. I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s new. Sports betting has always been there in the shadows. Now it’s up to mainstream media operators how much light they want to shine on it and how much they want to get into it. There were the three big betting times of the year, Super Bowl, March Madness and that Cinco de Mayo/Kentucky Derby weekend, when the mainstream media is super thirsty to soak up all that sports betting edge. But then when that time of the year was over, they would tuck sports betting back in the closet. But as the legal markets roll out, that stigma around sports betting is dying off. While I don’t necessarily think it’s a new era, they’re seeing it through a new lens. It’s starting to be accepted as part of the sports culture which is the same way you see it in the UK or Europe.” 

SALUTING THE POARCH BAND OF CREEK INDIANS

Tribal government gaming has been one of the most successful and compelling examples of community-oriented capitalism in the history of the U.S., and last month in Alabama we again saw the underlying strength of commitment and generosity of spirit that this indispensable industry regularly displays. 

By now you may know that in March Lee County was hit by the deadliest tornado in the U.S. in the last six years and 23 people were killed. In response, the Poarch Band of Creek Indians stepped up to cover all the costs associated with the funerals of the victims, with a donation of $184,000 to be spent through the East Alabama Medical Center Foundation.

“As coroner, I am beyond grateful that the Poarch Band of Creek Indians stepped up and offered this generous donation,” Lee County Sheriff Bill Harris said in a statement. “They reached out and asked what could they do to help and it was suggested to help with the funeral costs and they graciously offered to cover all the costs.”

Life seems excessively cruel at times, especially for those who lose loved ones in such a brutal and random manner. And so much of the day can seem consumed by pettiness and self-absorption. So thank you, to the leaders and members of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians. This magnanimous gesture was both a vital form of relief to the victims of a terrible disaster and a reminder to all of the power of our shared humanity.