For years now, people have been anticipating various ways in which bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies could make it into the U.S. consumer economy in a significant way.
While cryptos have grown more popular, and there are more uses than there used to be, it’s still favored largely by niche communities of people with specific enthusiasm for the concept. If, however, bitcoin became the best option for a given type of purchase, it would naturally become more useful to people beyond these niche communities.
Recently, it’s begun to look as if sports betting could represent one significant opportunity for this kind of development to occur.
More than a year ago now, the U.S. Supreme Court lifted its ban on sports betting, which was the first step needed for individual states to ratify gambling legislation and allow for real-money practices. And while betting has not since gone nationwide yet, it is in the process (gradual though it may be) of getting to that point. Several states have made sports betting legal, several more rare engaged in legislative motions to that end, and even those states that haven’t started a formal process are known to be considering betting businesses to various degrees.
Accordingly, betting markets are becoming more mainstream in the United States, particularly thus far in 2019. Heading into the current season for the NFL – the most popular of American sports leagues – betting interests were covered by experts alongside normal sports stories to a greater extent than ever before. And just recently, betting markets for the MLB have been active, with many Americans taking their first chance to bet legally on the professional baseball playoffs that have been going on for a month or so. The NBA, too (not to mention college basketball) is expected to do a signifiant amount of betting business now that basketball season has arrived.
For now, the bulk of this new betting activity is being conducted by ordinary financial means. However, there are clear reasons to believe that bitcoin could become one of if not the preferred means for betting transactions. One such reason is that bitcoin is already being used on some betting platforms outside of the United States, and to great effect, satisfying bettors’ desire for security, anonymous activity, and quick deposits and withdrawals. Another reason, however, is that a growing number of actual professional sports organizations in the United States are getting involved with cryptocurrency. The Sacramento Kings of the NBA, in fact, have even announced their intent to mine cryptocurrency of their own – first to support good causes, but ultimately to provide fans with something resembling betting tokens.
Given these developments – legal betting’s arrival on the U.S. scene, bitcoin’s usage in betting, and teams’ interest – it seems only a matter of time before at least a decent number of Americans will be able to bet on their favorite sports with bitcoin. That could represent one of the major commercial applications people have been waiting to see.