Legal in 30 states, sports betting expands to cruise ships

Business

(NewsNation) — All aboard … and place your bets.

Coming soon to a Carnival cruise near you — the ability to gamble on your favorite sports team while sailing the high seas.

Carnival Corp and BetMGM will partner to launch mobile sports betting and iGaming kiosks on ships, adding to its array of gaming options that’ll be available on your next cruise in coming months. It’s the latest addition to an industry that’s become a massive money maker in less than five years.

Allen Bell, a sports betting expert with CBS’ Sportsline, knows first-hand just how much the sports gambling industry has exploded ever since the Supreme Court struck down the federal ban on single-game wagering in 2018. That opened up the floodgates, as individual states began to legalize in-person and mobile sports betting.

Billions and billions of dollars, legitimately. No hyperbole there,” Bell said. “That’s how much that it has grown and it will continue to go.”

It’s now live and legal in 30 states, plus the District of Columbia. Some 112 million Americans can now legally wager on sports from their couch. An additional 50 million just have to make a short drive to place an in-person bet.

Even professional sports leagues — from the NFL to the PGA Tour — individual teams, college and universities — they’ve all embraced gambling companies, which was taboo just five years ago.

According to Bell, “The answer is easy, it’s money, because there’s so much money involved in this.”

In fact, it’s an ungodly amount of money — and states are cashing in.

Sports betting brought in $4.3 billion in 2021 revenue, notching its best year by a wide margin. That’s a 179% increase from the year prior. And Nevada’s no longer the king. New Jersey led the way — with $816 million in revenue. 

New York launched sports betting this January — taking in $1.62 billion in bets during its first month, a record for any state. The three most populous states, California, Florida and Texas, have yet to fully green light sports gambling, but all could over the next few years.

“I guarantee that you’re going to see a lot people in the state of Florida that purchase tickets for cruises,” Bell said. “Not only for the fun of them, but also that’s an added layer. It’s a nice selling bonus for these companies like Carnival to be able to do it.”

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