Utah is clearly a laggard when it comes to sports betting legalization, and the state is bleeding precious cash. Without licensed operators to go around, the state is subject to offshore advertisement and rogue operations that deprive it of the valuable taxable dollar.
Sports betting is not getting special treatment. In fact, Utah has no truck with gambling of any kind, but this should change, think a growing number of local supporters. According to 2News, a local media outlet, there is already strong support for legalizing sports betting and letting people gamble if they choose to.
But that’s not all, because Westgate Las Vegas Superbook VP Jay Kornegay has an even more optimistic outlook for the legalized sports gambling segment. According to Kornegay, the state could be missing out on as much as $7 million in the initial stages of sports betting.
Projections for Utah’s Sports Betting Market
Once establish, Kornegay assures, this number is only going to start climbing up. He also outlined the current situation in the United States with some 30 jurisdictions already regulating their betting industries and undermining the offshore market, which dominated American sports betting for nearly two decades.
However, SCOTUS decision to strike down PASPA led to a boom in legalization. Most recently on January 8, New York became the latest state to legalize online sports betting. GeoComply already expects New York to become the biggest online betting state in the USA.
Kornegay also appreciates the flexibility of the mobile betting experience, and he argues that the benefits of mobile wagering are there. If Utah chooses to legalize sports gambling, enabling remote and mobile options will only lead to an increase in the overall betting handle and taxable revenue by extension.
However, Kornegay’s estimates are modest because the American Gaming Association believes that Utah may be looking at $16 million, especially if Utah takes the necessary measures to regulate it properly. AGA outlines a possibility of the state imposing an above-average tax rate and creating a convenient betting framework, alluding to mobile.
Understanding Sports Betting for What It Is
Of course, the state budget will not magically fix its issues by adding $16 million, but there will also be new job opportunities created because of legalizing sports betting. Of course, the initial hopes that sports gambling would be pouring in tens of millions in the state budget have now been dissipating.
At the onset of sports gambling legalization in the United States, some lawmakers mistakenly understood (and advertised as a result) that the gross gaming revenue would be the taxable amount. It’s not, as sportsbooks also use the money to pay back winning wagers.
Utah is also a religious place which means that social opposition against gambling is still there. However, some local proponents, such as Sen. Curt Bramble, have also been a defeatist. “There’s just no support for gambling. It’s hardwired in the state’s DNA.”
Optimism still persists as more everyday people seem to be entertaining the idea that if gambling should not be legalized as a priority, it should be at least a viable choice for those who wish to gamble.